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Research interests

The emphasis of my research employs sub-millimetre and infrared observatories to study dust-enshrouded high-redshift galaxies at a time when the Universe was building up most of its stars and black holes in massive galaxies.

I have been involved in several large pathfinding surveys to uncover ever-larger samples of these types of `extreme' galaxies (the SCUBA HAlf Degree Extragalactic Survey, the LABOCA ECDFS Submillimetre Survey, Herschel-ATLAS, the SCUBA-2 Cosmology Legacy Survey and now the SCUBA-2 eXtremely Large Survey, and also the ALMA/SCUBA-2 UDS Survey) which are thought to be producing stars at rates of up to thousands of solar masses per year (for comparison our own Milky Way produces about 1 sun per year on average!). I use many ground-based telescopes around the world as well as space telescopes to follow-up these objects across the electromagnetic spectrum in order to learn more about their nature: such as measuring their energy output and star-formation rates, dust and gas masses and ISM physics, dust temperatures, dynamics, and AGN content -- all of which can tell us about the connection between star-formation and black hole growth at this very active time in the Universe’s history.

Recently, my group has also started investigating the submillimetre continuum/dust and molecular gas properties of z~3-5 Lyman-Break Galaxies through new SCUBA2 and ALMA observations in order to learn about how less `extreme' and more `typical' massive galaxies may be formed and fuelled (yielding insights into the formation of our own Milky Way).


Kristen Coppin obtained a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of British Columbia in 2006. After post-doctoral positions at Durham University and McGill University, she was appointed Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics and was promoted to Reader of Astrophysics in 2017 and Professor of Astrophysics in 2020. The emphasis of Coppin's research is sub-millimetre and infrared observations of distant galaxies, seen at a time when galaxies in the Universe were going through their most rapid period of growth. Coppin has been involved in several large pathfinding surveys to uncover ever-larger samples of these types of galaxies (SHADES, LESS, H-ATLAS, SCUBA2) and leading several ALMA observational programmes to study high-z galaxy formation in the distant universe, including Lyman break galaxies and gravitationally-lensed systems.

I chaired our School's Equality Committee from 2016-2019 and in that time led our school's Athena SWAN Silver and Juno Champion applications which outlines our progress to date and action plans for the forthcoming period.

I was appointed as a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Resarch Fellow for the 2019/2020 academic year to pursue my research interests full time.

Education/Academic qualification

PgCert HE, University of Hertfordshire

Sep 2013Jun 2014

Award Date: 19 Sep 2014

Astronomy, PhD., University of British Columbia

16 Oct 200315 Oct 2006

Award Date: 23 Nov 2006

Astronomy, MSc., University of British Columbia

1 Sep 200115 Oct 2003

Award Date: 26 Nov 2003


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