Matthew Bayliss, PhD 


I am an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Cincinnati, working to solve problems in observational astrophysics and cosmology. Previously I was a Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, a Faculty Fellow in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Colby College, and a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Prior to that I was a grad student in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago where I completed my PhD with Professor Michael Gladders. Going back even further, I was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I worked on the Goodman Spectrograph, wrote some code to model follow-up observations of GRB afterglows, and helped build the first/prototype version of the PROMPT array.

I am an observer by trade and enjoy working with instrumentation and data at all wavelengths. I am particular experienced with optical, near-infrared (NIR), and X-ray data. The broad goal of my research is to describe the way in which stars, galaxies, and structure on the largest observable scales developed into its current form, starting from the Big Bang. Much of my research uses large samples of galaxy clusters that are selected both from their optical+NIR light, and with the Sunyaev Zel'dovich (SZ) Effect, to test predictions for structure formation. Within the galaxy cluster zoo, I spend a lot of my time working with strong lensing clusters where the strong lensing phenomenon yields information about the structure and properties of the cluster lenses while also providing highly magnified images of distant background galaxies. I use a wide range of facilities in my research, including incredible NASA observatories like JWST, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. I also make frequent use of large ground-based observatories such as Magellan and Gemini, and I currently serve of the Board of Directors for the Gemini Observatory.

I have a strong interest in science education and outreach. I have organized and spoken at numerous public science events, and given large public astronomy lectures, including the Harvard-Smithsonian monthly Observatory Night talk, and a public lecture at the Keene, NH public library hosted by the Keene Amateur Astronomy Club. See the Outreach page for a little more info about some of my recent (and not so recent) work in this area.  I am always happy to talk about my research (or other topics in astronomy and astrophysics) so please feel free to contact me if you're looking to find a guest speaker or something along those lines.

Feel free to take a look at my CV and ADS publications.

I really enjoy using (and building) telescopes:

Very young me helping to install the Goodman Spectrograph on the SOAR 4.1m Telescope on Cerro Pachon, in the Chilean Andes. This was my first experience using a large, research-grade telescope and it hooked me for life on observational astronomy.

Posing with a sample Gran Telescopio de Canarias mirror segment at el Obsevatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

Checking out the 8.1m primary mirror on Gemini South at Cerro Pachon in the Chilean Andes.

Also very young me working alongside a grad student to set up one of the first protoype PROMPT telescopes at Cerro Tololo in the Chilean Andes.

Group photo of the instructor team at the Yerkes Summer Institute in (I think) 2007, which was held at Yerkes Observatory, site of the largest refracting telescope in the world (one of the great robber-baron telescopes).

View of the night sky looking up out of the dome of the Magellan-I (Baade) Telescope - perhaps my favorite office in the world.