Francisca Kemper

Francisca Kemper

Institut de Ciències de l'Espai

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

After obtaining her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Amsterdam in 2002, Ciska Kemper moved to UCLA in Los Angeles, California, to take up a Spitzer Fellowship. In 2005 she joined the faculty of University of Virginia, and in 2006 she moved to the UK to take up a faculty position at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. In 2010 she moved to Taiwan for a research faculty position at the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of Academia Sinica. In this position she formally joined several telescope projects, including the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA), which ultimately led to her appointment as the European ALMA Programme Scientist at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, in 2018. In 2022 she joined the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) as an ICREA Research Professor. Ciska Kemper was awarded the Grand Prix Scientifique de la Fondation Franco-Taiwanaise jointly with Suzanne Madden in 2017.

Research interests

Ciska Kemper studies dust properties in order to understand the formation of dust in galaxies. In particular, she uses far-infrared and submillimeter observations of evolved stars and the interstellar medium of nearby galaxies to study the dust emissivity properties at these wavelengths, with the goal to improve on dust mass determinations at all redshifts. She also determines the mineralogical properties of silicate dust -- crystallinity, composition, nanocluster fraction -- in interstellar environments to follow dust formation and evolution.

Selected publications

- Armus L, Lai T, U V, ... Kemper F, et al., 2023, 'GOALS-JWST: Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Nucleus of NGC 7469', The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 942, L37

- Linden ST, Evans AS, Armus L, ... Kemper F, et al. 2023, 'GOALS-JWST: Revealing the Buried Star Clusters in the Luminous Infrared Galaxy VV 114', Astrophysical Journal Letters, 944, L55.

- Tripodi R, Feruglio C, Kemper F, et al. 2023, 'Accurate Dust Temperature and Star Formation Rate in the Most Luminous z > 6 Quasar in the Hyperluminous Quasars at the Epoch of Reionization (HYPERION) Sample', Astrophysical Journal Letters, 946, L45

- Zeegers ST, Mariñoso Guiu J, Kemper F, Marshall JP & Bromley ST 2023, 'Predicting observable infrared signatures of nanosilicates in the diffuse interstellar medium', Faraday Discussions, 245, 609.
- Marshall JP, Ertel S, Kemper F, et al. 2023, 'Sudden Extreme Obscuration of a Sun-like Main-sequence Star: Evolution of the Circumstellar Dust around ASASSN-21qj', Astrophysical Journal, 954, 140

Selected research activities

Ciska Kemper has contributed to the scientific justification of two potential future astronomical observatories. Specifically, she has written two out of the in total 76 contributions for the PRIMA General Observer Science Book, describing potential observational programs to be carried out with this concept far-infrared space-based observatory. If approved, the observatory will operate at 24-235 micron, and will have both imaging and spectroscopic capabilities. Furthermore, she is a member of the science team for AtLAST, a potential 50-m single dish submm/mm telescope. She has co-authored the Nearby Galaxies science case. The white book will be published in 2024.
Kemper has also organized a summer school on The Life Cycle of Dust, in collaboration with her colleagues at ICE-CSIC: J. M. Girart, Á. Sánchez-Monge, J. M. Torrelles and N. Cortés. The school attracted 40 students from 14 countries, and lectures were given by local scientists and invited international experts.