Marlboro College

Academics Sara Salimbeni - Physics

"I think that Marlboro is the perfect environment for my teaching career," says Sara Salimbeni.  "The wide range of physics topics I will need to teach will be a welcome challenge.  I feel particularly comfortable working with small groups of students and in a one to one setting.  This is the most effective environment to share my knowledge, skills and experiences with students.  Each day that I spend at Marlboro I learn something as a teacher and as a human being, and I believe that this has a strong, positive effect on my teaching."

 Teaching Philosophy

 "I started my career focusing on research," says Sara.  "For years, I explored astrophysical research, and in particular focused on galaxy evolution.  Research is rewarding - physics and in particular astrophysics are the engine of my desire for knowledge.  But recently, undergraduate students became involved in my research.  Working and interacting with them reminded me of my childhood dream to teach.  It made me realize how the reward that comes from mere research work cannot compare with the strong feelings that come from sharing my knowledge with other human beings.  No beautiful galaxy or intriguing question can give me the same energy as that of a curious student eager to learn."  Sara has taught courses for science and non-science students, and while developing a new foundation course in astronomy, developed the structure, experiments and activities that constituted that class.  She says that "this creative process made me understand that the interaction with the students is not the only aspect that I really enjoy about teaching.  The process of inventing curriculum which precedes the class is food for my mind."

Scholarly Activities

Observations of the nearby universe show a variety of galaxy types, morphologies, colors, etc. The galaxy
spatial distribution looks like a spider web, with emptier regions (called voids), and regions where the density of
galaxies is higher (this is, galaxy filaments, walls, groups and clusters). Many studies have been done so far to
understand how our universe has evolved into its current configuration.

Sara says that "within this broad view some of the key questions that drive my research are: What are the physical mechanisms that trigger and shut down the star formation in galaxies? What drives the galaxy stellar mass assembly through cosmic time? How do primeval galaxies evolve to form the morphological variety (Hubble sequence) that we observe today? How does the local density of a galaxy’s birth place influence its evolution?  During my research career I have investigated a number of these topics, using various methodologies.  One method of investigation I adopted, is to track the evolution of statistical properties of galaxy samples as a function of cosmic time. Because the velocity of light is finite, by watching the universe at various distances from us, we are able to observe a range of times throughout its history. Using statistical properties, it is possible to untangle the di erent star formation histories of galaxies."

Selected Publications

Salimbeni, S. et al.: A comprehensive study of large-scale structures in the GOODS-SOUTH field up to z∼ 2.5, A&A, 2009, 501,751,

Salimbeni, S. et al: The red and blue galaxy populations in the GOODS field: evidence for an excess of red dwarfs, A&A, 2008, 477, 763,

Fontana, A. and Salimbeni, et al. : The Galaxy Mass Function up to z = 4 in the GOODS-MUSIC sample: into the epoch of formation of massive galaxies, A&A, 459, 2006,

Selected Public Presentations

"The environmental properties of galaxies from the GOODS-SOUTH survey up to z ∼ 2.5," December 2009, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, invited talk.

"Uncertainties and systematic effects on the estimate of stellar masses in high z galaxies," September 2008, Probing stellar populations out to the distant universe, Cefalu, Italy.

"The red and blue galaxy luminosity function in the GOODS field: evidence for an excess of red dwarf galaxies," August 2007, A century of cosmology: past, present and future, San Servolo, Venice, Italy.

Laurea, The Sapienza University of Rome, 2003; Ph.D., Tor Vergata University of Rome, 2007; Marlboro College, 2011-

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