Marie E. Machacek’s work in astrophysics and cosmology focuses on the formation of structure in the universe from cosmological times to the present. Among the questions her recent work has explored are: What can the distribution of neutral hydrogen in the universe at the epoch of rapid galaxy formation tell us about the cosmology governing all structure formation? When and where do the first stars form? How does their radiation impact subsequent star formation? Is self-regulated star formation sufficient to explain the distribution of galaxy properties seen today? To address these questions, Machacek uses both theoretical modeling with three-dimensional cosmological numerical simulations and analyses of observational X-ray data on interesting nearby systems.
While at Radcliffe, Machacek intends to study the effects of environment on galaxy formation. Do galaxies in small groups and clusters evolve differently than those that are more isolated? What are the dominant physical processes that control their transformation?
Machacek holds a BA in physics and mathematics from Coe College, an MS in physics from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in theoretical particle physics from the University of Iowa. Prior to 1992, when her interests turned to astrophysics, she worked in elementary particle theory on the unification of nonabelian gauge theories of particle interactions. Machacek served twenty-three years on the physics faculty at Northeastern University before retiring in 2002 to fully devote her time to research. She has been a Bunting Science Scholar and National Science Foundation Visiting Professor.