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Pauline Barmby

Associate Professor, Physics & Astronomy, University of Western Ontario

I use telescopes on Earth and in space to study the contents of nearby galaxies. I advocate for accessibility to science for all.


Reach for the Stars: Citizen Science & Astronomy

MakerCulture - Science Group Jess, Maria and Carrie talked to associate professor Pauline Barmby at the University of Western Ontario. She gave us some insight on who is using Galaxy Zoo and why. Here's a teaser from that interview.

Lightning Talks 2

Alex Hagen, Peter Teuben, Christine Koepferl, Neil Crighton, Mathieu Servillat, Rebecca Smethurst , Eric Jeschke, Wolfgang Kerzendorf, Pauline Barmby Second round of lightning talks at the Python in Astronomy workshop 2015.

Bucke prize lecture 1080p24

At Western University, Canada, The Florence Bucke Science Prize For 2014 was awarded to Dr. Pauline Barmby of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Barmby's public lecture was titled "The Beautiful Science of Nearby Galaxies. Giving a history of the Florence Bucke Prize is Dean of Science, Dr. Charmain Dean. Introducing the speaker is the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Shantanu Basu. This public lecture was given on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

The Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) for the Spitzer Space Telescope

Published by The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series

2004 The Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) is one of three focal plane instruments on the Spitzer Space Telescope. IRAC is a four-channel camera that obtains simultaneous broadband images at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 μm. Two nearly adjacent 5.2'× 5.2' fields of view in the focal plane are viewed by the four channels in pairs (3.6 and 5.8 μm; 4.5 and 8 μm)...


Star formation in AEGIS field galaxies since z= 1.1: The dominance of gradually declining star formation, and the main sequence of star-forming galaxies

Published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters

2007 We analyze star formation (SF) as a function of stellar mass (M*) and redshift z in the All-Wavelength Extended Groth Strip International Survey. For 2905 field galaxies, complete to 1e10 (1e10.8) M☉ at z< 0.7 (1), with Keck spectroscopic redshifts out to z= 1.1, we compile SF rates (SFRs) from emission lines, GALEX, and Spitzer MIPS 24 μm photometry, optical-NIR M* measurements, and HST morphologies...


Galactic Cepheids with Spitzer. II. Search for Extended Infrared Emission

Published by The Astronomical Journal

2011 A deep and detailed examination of 29 classical Cepheids with the Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed three stars with strong nearby extended emission detected in multiple bands which appears to be physically associated with the stars. RS Pup was already known to possess extended infrared emission, while the extended emission around the other two stars (S Mus and δ Cep) is newly discovered in our observations. Four other stars (GH Lup, ℓ Car, T Mon, and X Cyg) show tentative evidence for extended infrared emission..


Dusty Waves on a Starry Sea: The Mid-Infrared View of M31

Published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters

2006 Mid-infrared observations of the Andromeda galaxy, M31, obtained with the Infrared Array Camera on board the Spitzer Space Telescope are presented. The image mosaics cover areas of approximately 3.7deg × 1.6deg and include the satellite galaxies M32 and NGC 205. The appearance of M31 varies dramatically in the different mid-infrared bands, from the smooth bulge and disk of the old stellar population seen at 3.6 μm to the well-known "10 kpc ring" dominating the 8 μm image..



I grew up fascinated by science fiction but changed my career plans to "scientist" upon finding out about the eyesight requirements for potential astronauts. I received degrees from the University of British Columbia and Harvard University. My PhD thesis, on the star clusters belonging to the Andromeda galaxy, involved many trips to telescopes and much more snow than most people associate with Arizona. After receiving my PhD, I worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as part of the team responsible for building and testing the IRAC camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope. In 2007 I joined Western's Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2015-18, I joined the academic leadership in the Faculty of Science as associate dean (graduate and postdoctoral studies) and acting dean. In my astronomy research I'm interested in the use of computer data-mining techniques and community-developed software to facilitate knowledge extraction from astronomical data. I'm interested in communicating science to the public and teaching computational techniques to scientists.


Outreach Award

Western Faculty of Science, 2010

Florence Bucke Prize

Western Faculty of Science, 2014

Group Achievement Award

Awarded to Spitzer Space Telescope Payload Team, NASA, 2004

Additional Titles and Affiliations

Software / Data Carpentry Code of Conduct Committee : Chair

International Astronomical Union : Member

International Astrostatistics Association Membership Committee : Member

Dunlap Institute : Review Committee

COSPAR : Member

Canadian Astronomical Society : Member

Canadian Astronomical Society Equity & Inclusivity Committee: Member

American Astronomical Society : Member

Past Talks

The Story of Space Telescopes

David Dunlap Observatory Star Talks

Toronto, ON, August 29, 2015

The M31 nucleus in the mid-infrared

American Astronomical Society

Seattle, WA, January 5, 2015

Stellar populations in the outskirts of M31: the mid infrared view

IAU Symposium 321, Foundation and Evolution of Galaxy Outskirts

Toledo, Spain, March 14, 2016

Pieces of Andromeda: machine-learning and big data techniques applied to M31

Canadian Astronomical Association Meeting

Winnipeg, MN., June 1, 2016

Astroinformatics: the Big Data of the Universe

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, London Centre

London, ON, November 18, 2016

Research Grants

Star Formation Histories of Nearby Galaxies

Organization: NSERC Discovery Grant
Grant amount: 125k


2008 - 2013

Star Formation Histories of Nearby Galaxies

Organization: Ontario Early Researcher Award
Grant amount: 140k


2008 - 2013

Far out: Tracing the mass in M31

Organization: Spitzer Science Center
Grant amount: 16k



Assembling the big picture in nearby galaxies

Organization: NSERC Discovery Grant
Grant amount: 135k


2013 - 2018


Organization: Western University ADF
Grant amount: 84k


2012 - 2014


  • Telescopes
  • Stars
  • Science Education
  • Physics
  • Galaxies
  • Digital Imaging
  • Astroinformatics
  • Astronomy


  • University of British Columbia
    Physics and Astronomy
    B.Sc. (Hons.), 1995
  • Harvard University
    Ph.D., 2001
  • Harvard University
    A.M., 1998