Harvey Richer

PhD, University of Rochester, United States
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Harvey Richer is an observational astronomer who uses his privileged access to the Hubble Space Telescope and a range of other telescopes to explore the age of the Universe, the evolution of stellar systems, and the formation of galaxies. Over the past eight years, he has been one of the largest Canadian users of the Hubble, large blocks of time on which are internationally competitive and extremely limited.

Dr. Richer received his BSc degree in Physics and Mathematics from McGill University and his PhD in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Rochester. Prior to coming to UBC, he taught at Rochester and worked as a Visiting Astronomer at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Since becoming Professor at UBC in 1983, Dr. Richer has been a Canada Council of the Arts Killam Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow.

Primary Recipient Awards

International Research Roundtables, Harvey Richer, 2013

Harvey Richer
Douglas Scott

Time and Life in the Universe
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Harvey Richer, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UBC; Dr. Douglas Scott, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UBC.

The Peter Wall Institute Roundtable initiative gives us the opportunity to plan something quite unique within astrophysics. We are organizing two separate, but overlapping events, focussed on the themes of “Time” and “Life.” Our main objective is to explore the evolution of the Universe and how it came to establish the conditions appropriate to harbour life. We will do this with a group of around 30 researchers, from different areas which overlap with the main themes.

Distinguished Scholars in Residence, Harvey Richer, 2009

Harvey Richer

Dr. Richer’s distinguished record of research brought him to the Institute in 2009, where he and his team analyzed their latest Hubble telescope data with an aim to image one of the earliest star clusters in the Universe. By analyzing the cooled white dwarf stars in this cluster, the team will be able to date the origin of this formation. Further, by locating and characterizing the cluster’s least massive normal stars, they will determine the minimum stellar mass that is capable of sustained nuclear reactions in its core.

Exploratory Workshops, Harvey Richer, 2000

Harvey Richer

The composition of the dark matter halo of our Milky Way Galaxy remains one of the fundamental unanswered mysteries of modern astronomy. Thanks to its gravitational effect upon the luminous matter we can see (stars and gas), we know that there is at least ten times as much mass tied up in the form of matter we have thus far been unable to identify compared to the matter that we actually "see". Theorists have spent the last several decades attempting to provide an apriori solution as to the form of this matter, while observers have worked just as hard attempting to quantify the amount and distribution of this matter based upon the aforementioned indirect gravitational effects. Because it is the dominant form of matter in the universe, driving the formation and evolution of galaxies as well as the ultimate fate of the universe as a whole, identifying its exact form is crucial.

With this workshop we will be exploring a candidate for what may be an important fraction of our galaxy's dark matter - old white dwarfs, the burnt out cores of stars that have completed their nuclear evolution. Both theoreticians, observers and contrarians will be brought together to explore this exciting area of astrophysics whose original observational impetus came from UBC scientists.


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