The ALMA Quest for Our Cosmic Origins

ALMA Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Chile

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A Symposium to Honor Pierre Cox

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is hosting the Symposium "The ALMA Quest for Our Cosmic Origins" to be held at the JAO offices in Vitacura, Santiago on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The Symposium is in honor of Pierre Cox service as ALMA Director from 2013 to 2017. Under Pierre's leadership, ALMA transitioned from early science to essentially full operations with all antennas operational, achieving high-profile and stunning science results, including impressive images in many astronomical areas.

The symposium will consist of a series of talks that showcase the latest ALMA  results on galaxies, star formation, circumstellar disks, and evolved stars.

SOC (Science Organizing Committee)

  • John Carpenter (Chair)
  • Loreto Barcos-Muñoz
  • Antonio Hales
  • Sergio Martín
  • Laura Pérez

LOC (Local Organizing Committee)

  • John Carpenter (Chair)
  • Daphne Elliott-Patterson
  • José Pinto
  • Nicolás Lira 


If you need to contact the LOC or the SOC please send an email to science.events@alma.cl.

* The registration ticket is free. There is no fee associated with the event. You won't need to print it and bring it. 


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March 27 2018


Opening Words - Stuartt Corder


9:30 - The new era of continuum and molecular deep field science enabled by ALMA - Manuel Aravena

A brief review of the current state of blank-deep field observations of the extragalactic universe that has been enabled by the great sensitivity of ALMA. These projects concentrate on the detection of the cold dust and molecular gas reservoirs in the gas-rich galaxies in the early universe. In particular, I will present preliminary results from our ALMA Spectroscopic Survey of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (ASPECS), which corresponds to the first ALMA large program awarded and observed.

9:50 - The VALES survey: a new look to the molecular gas content in low-redshift galaxies - Eduardo Ibar

Eduardo Ibar will present a new extragalactic survey that characterises dusty galaxies at low redshifts: the Valparaíso ALMA Line Emission Survey (VALES). He will then introduce the use of ALMA Band-3 CO(1-0) and APEX SEPIA Band-5 CO(2-1) observations to study the molecular gas content in a sample of ~100 main-sequence (and starburst) star-forming galaxies up to z=0.35. The galaxies are far-IR bright [L_IR/Lo = 10^(10-12)Lo] emitters selected from the H-ATLAS survey over ∼160 deg^2 and present a rich wavelength coverage. They have spectroscopically detected (>5sigma in a previous Herschel campaign) 27 galaxies in [CII] and ~60 galaxies in CO, facilitating a characterisation of the ISM state in some of these galaxies via PDR modelling. One-third of the ALMA targets are spatially resolved in CO, facilitating exploration of the global Schmidt-Kennicutt law, and a kinematical interpretation of the star-formation activity. A non-negligible fraction of galaxies is found to be molecular gas-rich (f_gas>30%), fractions which are similar to those found in normal high-redshift star-forming galaxies. Eduardo will show the prospects of this campaign by introducing the follow-up campaigns we are leading from Valparaíso.

10:10 - Chentao Yang

Recent surveys at submillimeter bands have discovered hundreds of strongly lensed high-redshift submillimeter galaxies (SMGs), opening new exciting opportunities for follow-up studies of their ISM. We have thus carefully selected such a sample of z~2-4 SMGs and conducted the largest studies of the submillimeter H2O lines at high-redshift. The dominance of far-infrared pumping excitation is confirmed for the H2O lines, offering a unique diagnostic of both the far-infrared field and the dense warm molecular gas. With a large multi-J CO line survey, we find the CO ladders are consist of at least two excitation components, being similar to those of the local star-bursting ULIRGs. Using LVG modelling, they derive the gas properties and discover a tight correlation between gas pressure and star formation efficiency. Using the ALMA high spatial-resolution images, they can study the CO, H2O (for the first time), and dust emission in sub-kpc scale and modelling the gas kinematics.

10:30 - Ezequiel Treister


ISM / Stars

11:30 - Satoko Takahashi

11:50 - Deep into the Water Fountains: ALMA observations - Andrés Pérez-Sánchez

Water fountain (WF) nebulae are evolved, low- or intermediate-mass stars (spectral type from K to M) which are embedded in dusty and molecular-rich circumstellar envelopes (CSEs). These Galactic sources are characterized by the detection of high-velocity spectral features of H2O maser emission at 22 GHz (1.3 cm). Given their velocity (>100 km/s), the H2O spectral features are usually associated with jet-like structures that extend over hundreds AU. Nevertheless, the launching and shaping mechanism of such large-scale structures in the CSEs of WF nebulae is still unknown. In this talk, I will present results of ALMA (Band 7) observations of three WF nebulae. We detected high-velocity features of the 321 GHz (0.9 mm) H2O maser transition as well as dust continuum emission. The velocity and spatial distribution of the sub-millimeter maser features relative to the position of the dust continuum peak detected with ALMA suggest that the maser transition is pumped in dense molecular layers around the jet-like outflows. The propagation of J- and C-shocks might be related not only to the pumping of the H2O rotational transitions but also to the mechanism shaping the CSEs of WF nebulae.

12:10 - Chat Hull

12:30 - TBD



14:00 - Laura Pérez

14:20 - Simon Casassus

14:40 - The Demographics of Protoplanetary Disks as seen by ALMA - Lucas Cieza

In addition to providing transformational images of individual protoplanetary disks, ALMA is obtaining fundamental results on disk demographics. Current statistics on extrasolar planets imply that most circumstellar disks should form planets; therefore, it is important to investigate the full distribution of disk properties present in star-forming regions. Protoplanetary disks show a wide range of masses, sizes, surface density profiles, and lifetimes. These different disk properties are likely to drive the diversity of extrasolar planets we see in the Galaxy. In this talk, I will discuss disk demographic studies in nearby molecular clouds and the constraints they impose to both disk evolution and planet formation theory.

14:00 - Viviana Guzmán



15:50 - Molecular gas imaging in the nearby Universe - Sergio Martín

ALMA has clearly become the ultimate molecular gas both within and outside our own Galaxy.
Not only we are now able to reach fainter and/or more distant sources which increase our available nearby sample of galaxies, but it is possible now to observe them at an unprecendented high fidelity. Moreover we are able to image molecular transitions which are thousands of times fainter that the usual carbon monoxide ones, which opens the molecular skies to a wider range of molecular species.
A summary of nearby Universe highlight results will be presented with a specia emphasis on some of the key results in extragalactic astrochemistry which is a clearly emerging field with ALMA.

16:10 - Guillermo Blanc

16:30 - ALMA’s View of the Arp 220 Disks from 30 pc Resolution Observations of Dense Gas Tracers - Loreto Barcos-Muñoz

New ALMA continuum and line observations of the closest, proto-typical ULIRG, Arp 220. This extremely obscured system is often invoked as the most extreme local star-forming system and so used as a template for starbursts at high redshift. It is evident that understanding its ISM conditions is crucial for star formation and galaxy evolution. Using the most extended configuration available in ALMA Cycle 3, we achieve resolution of 0.08" = 30 pc targeting the optically thin mm-wave continuum and the high critical density tracers HCN, HCO+, their isotopologues, and the shock tracer SiO. This resolution is sufficient to resolve both disks and ideal to compare to our 33 GHz VLA continuum images at the same resolution (Barcos-Muñoz et al. 2015). I will focus mainly on the recent discovery of a molecular outflow in the western nucleus of this galaxy, and present the first 3D image of this fast, collimated outflow. I will also show preliminary results on molecular gas distribution at 0.1” with ALMA in a couple other local mergers.

16:50 - The ALMA View on Hot Dust Obscured Galaxies and the Most Luminous Galaxy Known - Tanio Diaz-Santos

An ALMA survey of the [CII] line at 158um in a sample of 7 Hot Dust Obscured Galaxies (Hot DOGs) at z ~3 to 4.6 reveal a diversity of morphologies and complex kinematic structures, likely reflecting the disturbed dynamical state of these systems, which are at a key stage of their evolution. ALMA has also provided us with a closer look to WISE 2246-0526, the most luminous galaxy known, where very recent deep observations of its FIR dust continuum emission reveal multiple galaxy companions and resolved filamentary structures.


17:10 - Closing Words - Pierre Cox

17:30 - Reception


Manuel Aravena

Professor at Universidad Diego Portales (UDP) in Santiago Chile, since 2014. Previously, he was ESO postdoctoral fellow in Santiago, and postdoc at NRAO in Charlottesville, VA, USA. His work mostly focuses on the study of the cold gas and dust from galaxies in the early Universe.

Loreto Barcos-Muñoz

Loreto obtained a bachelor in physics from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile. After that, she got a masters and doctoral degree in Astronomy from the University of Virginia, where she focused on the study of luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies with high angular resolution using the Very Large Array and ALMA. She is currently an NRAO/ALMA fellow in Santiago, Chile. Her primary research interests are star formation and galaxy evolution in luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies from a radio/sub-mm perspective.

Lucas Cieza

Ph.D. in Astronomy, the University of Texas at Austin. Spitzer and Sagan Fellow at the University of Hawaii. Founding member and first Director of the Astronomy Group at Universidad Diego Portales. Deputy PI of the Millennium ALMA Disk (MAD) Nucleus. His main scientific interests are disk evolution and planet formation.

Tanio Díaz-Santos

PhD at Spanish National Research Council, Spain (2009). Postdoctoral researcher at University of Crete, Greece (2009-2011). Postdoctoral researcher at California Institute of Technology, California, US (2011-2014). Currently ALMA-CONICYT fellow at Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile (since 2014).

His expertise is in the area of galaxy formation and evolution, with special emphasis in investigating the physical properties of the star formation, AGN and interstellar medium of infrared luminous galaxies, in the nearby Universe and at high redshift.

Eduardo Ibar

Chilean astronomer, PhD in Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, nowadays associate professor at Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile. His research interests are characterised to develop multi-wavelength analyses for observational cosmology, including evidence for describing galaxy formation and evolution, star-forming galaxies at all redshifts, active galactic nuclei, sub-mm galaxies and in-depth radio surveys.

Sergio Martín

ALMA operations astronomer. Sergio has worked in the operations of most major millimeter/submillimeter facillities, namely the IRAM 30m in Spain, the SMA in Hawaii and NOEMA in the french Alps. His main research line is the study of the astrochemical evolution of galactic nuclei and more recently the origin of life through the study of complex organic molecules in space.

Andrés Felipe Pérez-Sánchez

Andrés F. Pérez-Sánchez is an ESO fellow with duties at ALMA since June 2016. In 2014 Andrés obtained his PhD in Astronomy from the Argelander-Institute für Astronomie - Universität Bonn, Germany. His main research interests are Late-type stars and the evolution of their circumstellar envelopes; Molecular outflows, maser emission and radio continuum emission towards post-AGB stars.

Chentao Yang

Chentao Yang started his research work on the submillimeter H2O lines in a large sample nearby galaxies using Herschel data. Later, he moved his interest to the high-redshift lensed galaxies discovered by the Herschel-ATLAS survey. During his Ph.D., he studied various gas tracers in those lensed high-redshift galaxies, with a substantial amount of datasets from both single-dish telescopes and interferometers like IRAM-30m, NOEMA, JVLA, and ALMA. In November 2018, he moved to Chile joining ESO as a fellow after obtaining the Ph.D. degree. He is now working on high-resolution observations of the high-redshift submillimetre galaxies using multiwavelength data.

ALMA Observatory

Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Chile