Michael is a physics PhD Student at Stanford University studying the large-scale structure of dark matter in the universe with DES. Along with his advisor Prof. Aaron Roodman, he’s using the galaxies observed by DES to study the underlying “cosmic web” of dark matter, as well as studying the impact of imperfections in telescope cameras (including our own DECam) on astronomical measurements.
We asked Michael a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite space-related image, and why?
I’ll do you one better and share my favorite space-related movie! This one-minute clip (from my SLAC colleague Ralf Kaehler) visualizes how dark matter has collapsed under gravity over the history of our universe. The details of the web-like structure of dark matter seen in this video–and how galaxies form within it–are the main focus of my current research.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
The book that has had the greatest impact on my life is undoubtedly Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Now you’re probably saying, “Mike, isn’t that an illustrated chapter book for children?”, which it certainly is. But to me as an extremely bored third-grader, who thought school was a massive adult conspiracy to waste my time, Milo’s realization that learning can be a grand, lifelong adventure changed the way I viewed my own life. After reading it, I spent the rest of my childhood waiting for my own magical tollbooth to come in the mail (still am…), but a career in science has been a pretty great consolation prize!