Dark matter comprises 5/6 of the matter in the universe and provides the scaffolding within which galaxies are born and grow. Andrew Newman uses a variety of observational tools to map this mysterious matter across scales. His goals are to understand how galaxies’ growth depends on their cosmological environments, and to gleam insights into the physics of the unknown dark matter particle.

On the largest scales, Newman is leading the Lyman-alpha Tomography IMACS Survey (LATIS) and mapping the matter distribution over a large volume of the universe as it was 11 billion years ago. With these maps, he hopes to learn about how early galaxies’ evolution depended on the environment in which they grew. On smaller scales, he has also used gravitational lensing and other observations to map the dark matter distribution within galaxies, groups, and clusters, with the aim of comparing to theoretical predictions made for different models of the dark matter particle.

Newman is also interested in understanding the formation and growth of massive galaxies, whose ancestors we observe back to very early cosmic times. He measured the growth histories of these galaxies to better understand how they were assembled from smaller galaxies. More recently, he aims to learn about the early evolution and chemical enrichment in these galaxies during the first few billion years. To do this, Newman interprets detailed spectra enabled by his discovery of a set of massive, distant, and extremely bright galaxies (gravitationally magnified) using Magellan. One of these was selected to be observed by the James Webb Space Telescope during its first year of operation.

New instrumentation is critical to his research, and he also serves as project scientist on the Magellan Infrared Multiobject Spectrograph (MIRMOS) project. He works to develop the scientific goals of this exciting in-development instrument and to raise funding to enable its construction.


Drew Newman's Astronomy Lecture at the Huntington

Galactic Transformations


Recent Publications