Jordi Miralda-Escudé

Universitat de Barcelona

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

I learned physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and astronomy on my own and through some amateur associations in Catalonia. I did my PhD in astrophysics at Princeton University, graduating in 1991 with a thesis on gravitational lensing by clusters and large-scale structure. I was a postdoc at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, and a Long-Term Member at the Institute for Advanced Study. I joined the University of Pennsylvania as a professor of astrophysics in 1996, and then moved to The Ohio State University in 2000. I have been back to Catalonia with an ICREA position since 2005, and I am at present doing research on astrophysics and cosmology at the Institut de Ciències del Cosmos at the University of Barcelona.

Research interests

I enjoy searching for physical explanations for what we observe in the Universe. My interests range over the formation of galaxies and their large-scale distribution in space, the composition and evolution of the universe as a whole, observations of the intergalactic medium and the distribution of diffuse matter in space, the formation of massive black holes and the nuclear regions of galaxies, and gravitational lensing as a probe to the nature of dark matter. Over the last few years I have focused on the large-scale distribution of intergalactic gas as probed by quasar absorption spectra in the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey of the SDSS-III Collaboration, where absorption in the Lyman alpha line of hydrogen gas is observed. This is revealing crucial clues on both the initial conditions of the Universe and the formation of galaxies. I have worked on Damped Lyman Alpha Systems, which are gas clouds that are involved in the process of formation of galaxies. At present I am also looking at various techniques to inquire on the nature of the dark matter, among them the observation of extremely magnified high-redshift stars close to the critical curves of clusters of galaxies acting as gravitational lenses.

Selected publications

- Sadoun R, Zheng Z & Miralda-Escudé J 2017, 'On the decreasing fraction of strong Lyman alpha emitters at z ~ 6 - 7', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 839, no.1, 44 (13pp).

- Bautista JE, et al. 2017, 'Measurements of Baryon Acoustic Oscillations Correlations at z=2.3 with SDSS-DR12 Lyman Alpha Forests', Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 603, 12.

- Venumadhav T, Dai L, Miralda-Escudé J 2017, 'Microlensing of Extremely Magnified Stars near Caustics of Galaxy Clusters', Astrophysical Journal, 850, 1, 49.

- Mas-Ribas L, Miralda-Escudé J, Pérez-Ràfols I, et al. 2017, 'The mean metal-line absorption spectrum of damped Lyman alpha systems in BOSS', The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 846, no.1, 4 (36pp).

- Miralda-Escudé J 2017, 'L'obra lul·liana i la ciència moderna', Mètode, vol. 93, pp 18-13.

- du Mas de Bourboux H, et al. 2017, 'Baryon Acoustic Oscillations from the complete SDSS-III Lyman alpha - quasar cross-correlation function at z=2.4', Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 608, 130 (pp 22).

Selected research activities

 This year I also spent some time on a more interdisciplinary activity studying the medieval philosopher Ramon Llull and the relation of his writings to mathematical and scientific developments, writing an article in the magazine Mètode of the University of Valencia.