The Most Massive Galaxies and their Precursors

9th - 12th February 2015, Sydney

Galaxy cluster

Hubble Space Telescope image of Abell 1689.  Image Credit: NASA

The aim of this meeting is to bring together observers and theorists who work in the field of the most massive galaxies (>1011 solar masses today) to actively discuss current research and devise future directions.  The meeting will be limited to 80 participants to encourage active discussion. 

This meeting is sponsored by an AAO Return To Work Grant

NEWS: The twitter feed (#MassGal15) from the meeting has been "storifyed": Talks are now available online under the Program and Talks tab and the conference photos are below:

Conference PhotoConference Photo

The final version of the program is now available - MassiveGalaxiesSchedulev2.pdf. The conference handbook with the talk abstracts is also available - MassiveGalaxiesHandbook.pdf

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us on We look forward to seeing you in Sydney!

Key science topics to be discussed are

1. Growth of massive galaxies with time 
2. The dark matter halos of massive galaxies and the M*-Mhalo relation 
3. Angular momentum of massive galaxies 
4. Properties of Intracluster light 
5. Activity (star formation and AGN) of massive galaxies 
6. Future directions 

Invited Speakers include:

  • Eric Bell (Michigan) 
  • Michele Cappellari (Oxford)
  • Emanuele Contini (Purple Mountain Observatory, CAS)
  • Louise Edwards (Yale)
  • Aaron Dutton (MPIA)
  • Mariska Kriek (Berkeley) 
  • Gabriella de Lucia (Trieste)
  • Chris Lidman (AAO)
  • Danilo Marchesini (Tufts)
  • Thorsten Naab (MPA)
  • Amelie Saintonge (UCL)
  • Chiara Tonini (Melbourne)
  • Kim-Vy Tran (Texas A&M)
  • Risa Wechsler (Stanford)
  • Norbert Werner (Stanford)

Scientific Organising Committee

  • Sarah Brough (Chair; AAO)
  • Chris Lidman (AAO)
  • Anja von der Linden (Stanford & DARK)
  • Adam Muzzin (Leiden)
  • John Stott (Durham)
  • Chiara Tonini (Melbourne)
  • Kim-Vy Tran (Texas A&M)

Local Organising Committee

  • Sarah Brough (AAO)
  • Caroline Foster (AAO)
  • Andrew Hopkins (AAO)
  • Paola Oliva-Altamirano (AAO)
  • Simon O'Toole (AAO)
  • Paolo Serra (CSIRO)  

This meeting with be held at the Luna Park amusement park at 1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point, Sydney.  The amusement park is underneath the Sydney harbour bridge and the conference room looks out onto the stunning Sydney harbour so there is no chance of getting bored!

Luna Park

We will not be organising accommodation but Luna Park is close to hotels (Vibe Hotel North Sydney is a 5 minute walk, the budget Glenferrie Lodge is a 14 minute walk) and restaurants (the vibrant suburb of Kirribilli is a 5 minute walk).  Luna Park is also close to public transport being right beside Milsons Point wharf (6 minutes ferry ride from the main Circular Quay wharf) and 4 minutes walk from Milsons Point train station.

The conference dinner will be held in the centre of Sydney at Doltone House - Hyde Park (Level 3, 181 Elizabeth St, Sydney), overlooking the beautiful Hyde Park.

Please fill in the following details to register for the meeting. The registration fee is AU$280. Your registration number will be emailed to you once your registration is complete; this number should be used in all correspondence regarding your registration.

The deadline for abstract submission is September 30th 2014

For people attending the meeting, the registration fee of AU$280 is due by 5th December 2014 using the Credit Card payment form.

First name Surname Affiliation
Rebecca Allen Swinburne University of Technology and AAO
James Allen University of Sydney
Guillermo Barro University of California Santa Cruz, Lick Observatory
Amanda Bauer AAO
Eric Bell University of Michigan
Sirio Belli Caltech
Rachel Bezanson Steward observatory, U of Arizona
Fuyan Bian Australian National University
Sarah Brough AAO
Michael Brown Monash University
Andy Bunker University of Oxford
Michele Cappellari University of Oxford
Matthew Colless ANU
Emanuele Contini Purple Mountain Observatory, CAS
Michael Cowley Macquarie University
Scott Croom University of Sydney
Ivana Damjanov Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Gabriella De Lucia INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
Aaron Dutton Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Louise Edwards Yale University
Allan Ernest Charles Sturt University
Lisa Fogarty University of Sydney
Duncan Forbes Swinburne University
Karl Glazebrook Swinburne University of Technology
Daniel Groenewald SAAO/NWU
Allison Hill Sterrewacht Leiden
Mike Hudson Mike Hudson
Bernd Husemann European Southern Observatory
Buell Jannuzi University of Arizona Steward Observatory & Dept of Astronomy
Heath Jones Macquarie University
Glenn Kacprzak Swinburne University of Technology
Chiaki Kobayashi University of Hertfordshire
Baerbel Koribalski CASS
Davor Krajnovic Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP)
Mariska Kriek University of California, Berkeley
Jaehyun Lee Yonsei University
Chris Lidman AAO
Danilo Marchesini Tufts University
Nicholas McConnell University of Hawaii
Richard McDermid Macquarie University / AAO
J. Trevor Mendel MPI für Extraterrestrische Physik
Jeremy Mould Swinburne
Adam Muzzin Cambridge University
Thorsten Naab Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics
Themiya Nanayakkara Swinburne University of Technology
Andrew Newman Carnegie-Princeton Fellow
Rahul Nigam BITS Pilani, India
Paola Oliva-Altamirano Swinburne University of Technology
Pablo G. Perez-Gonzalez Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Amelie Saintonge UCL
Kevin Schawinski ETH Zurich
Paolo Serra CSIRO ATNF
Rosalind Skelton South African Astronomical Observatory
Lee Spitler Macquarie University / Australian Astronomical Observatory
John Stott Durham/Oxford
Caroline Straatman Leiden University
Edward Taylor Univ. of Melbourne
Sune Toft Dark Cosmology Centre
Elisa Toloba University of California Santa Cruz
Chiara Tonini University of Melbourne
Kim-Vy Tran Texas A&M University
Mark Walker Manly Astrophysics
Risa Wechsler Stanford University
Sarah Wellons Harvard/CfA
Norbert Werner Stanford University
Kate Whitaker NASA/GSFC
Sukyoung Yi Yonsei University
Tiantian Yuan ANU RSAA
Yuanyuan Zhang University of Michigan


Growth of Massive Galaxies

Session Chair: Sarah Brough

9:00am           Warrick Couch – Welcome

9:05am           Invited: Mariska Kriek - Massive Galaxies out to z~2: Knowns and Unknowns

9:35am           Invited: Danilo Marchesini - The Progenitors of Today's Ultra-massive Galaxies Across Cosmic Time

10:05am        Invited: Chris Lidman - Observational constraints on the growth on brightest cluster galaxies over the last 10 billion years

10:35am        COFFEE

Session Chair: Paola Oliva-Altamirano

11:00am        Invited: Gabriella de Lucia - Formation and evolution of the most massive galaxies in hierarchical models

11:30am        Richard McDermid - Mapping Star Formation Histories of Early-Type Galaxies with the Atlas3D Survey

11:50am        John Stott - The KMOS Redshift One Spectroscopic Survey: The resolved Dynamics, Star-Formation and Chemical Properties of 1000 massive z~1 star forming galaxies

12:10pm        Pablo Perez-Gonzalez - Diving into the details of the SFH of z>1 dead massive galaxies

12:30pm        LUNCH

Session Chair: Amelie Saintonge

1:30pm          Sarah Wellons - The Formation and Evolution of Massive, Compact Galaxies in Illustris

 1:50pm         Lee Spitler (on behalf of Caroline Straatman) - Discovery of massive compact quiescent galaxies at z~4 with ZFOURGE

2:10pm          Sirio Belli - Deep Keck Spectroscopy of 1 < z < 2.5 Quiescent Galaxies: New Results on the Size Growth

2:45pm          Kate Whitaker - Structure across the Star Formation Sequence at 0.5<z<2.5

3pm                COFFEE

Session Chair: Chris Lidman

3:30pm          Yuanyuan Zhang - Bright Central Galaxies (BCGs) in Dark Energy Survey Science Verification Data: Stellar Mass Growth Since z=1.2

3:50pm          Rosalind Skelton - The merger fraction of Luminous Red Galaxies

4:10pm          Daniel Groenewald - The importance of mergers to the stellar mass build-up of Brightest Cluster Galaxies

4:30pm          Sukyoung Yi - Merger relics in galaxy clusters

4:45pm          Jaehyun Lee - The significance of galaxy mergers as a function of galaxy and halo mass


Dark Matter

Session Chair: Adam Muzzin

9:00am           Invited: Aaron Dutton - Lensing and dynamics of massive elliptical galaxies

9:30am           Invited: Risa Wechsler - The evolution of massive galaxies and their dark matter halos

10:00am        Andrew Newman - Dark Matter in Massive Ellipticals: Constraints from Lensing at the Galaxy, Group, and Cluster Scales

10:20am        COFFEE

Session Chair: Matthew Colless

10:50am        Adam Muzzin - A First Look at the Interior Structure of Massive High-Redshift Galaxies using Strong Gravitational Lensing

11:10am        Mike Hudson - Co-evolution of galaxies and their dark matter haloes from weak lensing

11:30am        Rachel Bezanson - Stellar Dynamics of Massive Galaxies Near and Far

 11:50am       Nick McConnell - Supermassive Black Holes in the MASSIVE Galaxy Survey

12:10pm        LUNCH

Angular Momentum

Session Chair:  Lisa Fogarty

1:10pm          Invited: Michele Cappellari - Angular momentum of massive galaxies

1:40pm          Invited: Paola Oliva-Altamirano - The accretion histories of Brightest Cluster Galaxies: Angular Momentum and Stellar Populations

2:10pm          Invited: Thorsten Naab (given by Davor Krajnovic) - The cosmological formation of massive galaxies

2:40pm          COFFEE

Session Chair: Louise Edwards

3:10pm          J. Trevor Mendel - Evolution of massive galaxies from the KMOS-Cluster and VIRIAL surveys

3:30pm          Davor Krajnovic - M3G: the MUSE most massive galaxies campaign

3:50pm          Lisa Fogarty - The Formation of Slow Rotating ETGs

4:10pm          Matthew Colless - The link between structure and kinematics in SAMI massive galaxies

4:30pm          Elisa Toloba - Angular momentum and kinematically decoupled cores in elliptical galaxies at all masses

4:45pm          Duncan Forbes - Probing the Halos of Massive Early-type Galaxies


Intra-Cluster Light

Session Chair: Chiara Tonini

9:00am           Invited: Louise Edwards - Clocking BCG formation: Close companions vs. Intracluster Light

9:30am           Invited: Emanuele Contini - Properties of the Intra-Cluster Light as predicted by a semi-analytic model of Galaxy Formation


10:00am        Invited: Kim-Vy Tran - Tracking Star Formation and AGN in Distant Galaxies

 10:30am        COFFEE

Session Chair: John Stott

11:00am        Invited: Amelie Saintonge - The role of gas in regulating star formation and AGN activity in massive galaxies

11:30am        Invited: Norbert Werner - The origin of cold gas in giant ellipticals and its role in fuelling AGN feedback

12:00pm        Invited: Chiara Tonini - Hierarchical galaxy assembly and its manifestations: dynamical state and star formation history

12:30pm        LUNCH

Free Afternoon

6pm                CONFERENCE DINNER


Session Chair: Kim-Vy Tran

9:00am          Sune Toft - Sub-mm galaxies as progenitors of compact quiescent galaxies

9:20am          Lee Spitler - The ZFOURGE survey: a remarkable diversity in the massive galaxy population at redshifts z = 3-4

9:40am          Fuyan Bian - Luminous Lyman Break Galaxies at z~3 in Deep and Wide Field Surveys

10:00am        Tiantian Yuan - ISM properties of cluster members at z =2.1

10:20am        COFFEE

Session Chair: Amanda Bauer

10:50am        Guillermo Barro - High gas velocity dispersions in progenitors of massive, compact quiescent galaxies at z~2

11:10am        Glenn Kacprzak - Mass-Metallicity Relation of a Virgo Progenitor at z=2.1

11:30am        Chiaki Kobayashi - Massive galaxies in cosmological simulations with a new AGN model

11:50am        Scott Croom - Evolution of radio-mode feedback in the most massive galaxies

12:20pm        LUNCH

Session Chair: Trevor Mendel

1:20pm          James Allen - Resolving the effect of AGN on their host galaxies

1:40pm          Bernd Husemann - Are QSOs really quenching star formation in massive galaxies?

2:00pm          Edward Taylor - GAMA: Deconstructing Bimodality -- what do you mean, 'quenched'?

2:20pm          Kevin Schawinski - Star formation, quenching, black hole feedback and the fate of gas reservoirs

2:40pm          Michael Brown - Star formation in the most massive galaxies

3:00pm          COFFEE

Session Chair: Sarah Brough

3:30pm          Invited: Eric Bell - Future Directions

4:00pm          DISCUSSION

5:00pm          Conference close