Assistant ProfessorAdvanced Basic Science
- Mentor Information
- Masashi Chiba (Graduate School of Science)
|Research Fields||Astronomy, Astrochemistry|
|Academic Society Membership||The Astronomical Society of Japan|
How are the key ingredients of life and planets formed? How are they chemically evolved? How much chemical diversities are there? These are all important subjects for astrochemistry, which is a young interdisciplinary field lying at the interface of astronomy, chemistry, physics, and biology.
Our bodied are composed of heavy elements (in astronomy, defined as every elements except for hydrogen and helium). They are produced by nuclear fusion reaction in stellar interiors and provided to interstellar environments by phenomena related the death of stars such as supernova explosion or mass loss. This indicates that metallicity (abundance of heavy elements) in interstellar environments increases as the cycles of stellar birth and death are repeated, and thus the chemical evolution of the universe is interpreted as the evolution (increase) of metallicity. Therefore, chemical properties of star- and planet-forming regions in low metallicity environments provide us with key information about ingredients of stars and planets in the past universe.
My research aims to understand the formation, evolution, and diversity of molecules in space. Particularly, I try to elucidate a link between chemical diversities of star-/planet-forming regions and the environmental characteristics (especially metallicity) of their host galaxies. For this purpose, I investigate properties of interstellar and circumstellar materials such as molecular gas, dust, and ices by using cutting-edge astronomical telescopes in infrared to radio wavelengths and relevant theoretical models of astrochemistry. One of the important observation targets in my study is the Magellanic Clouds, which are the low-metallicity galaxies located adjacent to our Milky Way Galaxy. I have a particular interest on the chemical properties of materials associated with star-forming regions in the Magellanic Clouds since they are in low-metallicity environment. Based on observational, theoretical, and experimental approaches of astrochemistry, I try to understand the formation and evolution of water, organic molecules, and other chemically important molecular species in relation to the history of our universe.