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Daniel Nagasawa

Daniel Nagasawa

The work I have been undertaking as a HEEP fellow to understand element formation in our own Galaxy has been instrumental to my growth as a scientist and will form a core portion of my doctoral thesis. My objective is to understand the complex chemical environment in which the Galaxy formed. I am pursuing this goal in two separate but complementary ways: by studying satellite galaxies to the Milky Way as part of the Dark Energy Survey and by studying M-dwarf stars in the dark matter halo the encompasses our Galaxy. By understanding these ancient objects, I hope to be able to trace the chemical evolution of our Milky Way from its original progenitors to the formation of the first planets. In the past 6 months, my progress has been to collect the data and perform precision measurements of chemical abundances in the atmospheres of stars. To that end, I have been on two trips to observatories to perform high resolution spectroscopic measurements on targets of interest with a third planned in early August. I have also been able to present the preliminary abundance measurements to colleagues at the 2016 Dark Energy Survey Collaboration meeting at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, which was met with great interest from the Milky Way Science working group of which I am a member.

Now that these measurements have been performed or are planned soon, Faculty Fellow Dr. David Arnett’s work will take the forefront in interpreting them from the standpoint of galactic chemical evolution. His work on understanding the elemental formation following a supernova will be crucial in understanding the unique chemical signatures of the stars that compose these Milky Way satellite galaxies. My advisor, Professor Jennifer Marshall, and I intend that these results will be published by the end of this year.

Mr. Nagasawa is anticipated to graduate in May 2018.



Graduation Year

May 2018

Degree Type


Fellowship Year(s)


Previous Education

M.S. in Physics - Texas A&M University - '16
B.S. in Physics - Stanford University - '12


A.L. Ford, J. Marshall

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