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Professor Roberto Maiolino

Professor Roberto  Maiolino

Director, Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge

Professor of Experimental Astrophysics

Room K13
Kavli Institute for Cosmology
c/o Institute of Astronomy
Madingley Road

Cambridge CB3 0HA
Office Phone: (01223) 761661


Roberto Maiolino is professor of Experimental Astrophysics at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics) of the University of Cambridge and Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge (KICC). He received MS in Physics at the University of Florence in 1992 and PhD in Astronomy at the University of Florence in 1996, with secondment at the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona as a visiting scholar. From 1995 to 1997 he was postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrische Physik, in Garching (Munich). From 1997 to 2006 he was astronomer at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Florence) and then, from 2006 to 2012, he was astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Rome, prior to the appointment at the University of Cambridge. In 2018 he was knighted by the Italian President in the Order of the Star of Italy.

Research Interests

Roberto Maiolino is active in various areas of extragalactic astronomy, and in particular in the observational investigation of galaxy formation and galaxy-black hole coevolution. In the recent years he has focused on the investigation of the chemical evolution of galaxies and of the intergalactic medium, the evolution of the gas and dust content in galaxies, the characterization of primeval galaxies in the early Universe, the interplay between black hole accretion (quasar activity), galaxy evolution and galaxy environment. He exploits multi-wavelength observations obtained at some of the major telescopes and observatories, such as the ESO Very Large Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array.

He is member of the Instrument Science Team of NIRSpec, the near infrared multi-object spectrograph for the James Webb Space Telescope, he is Project Scientist of MOONS, the Multi-Object near-IR spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope, and Project Scientist of HIRES, the high resolution spectrograph for the Extremely Large Telescope.


Galaxy formation and evolution

Key Publications

AMAZE. I. The evolution of the mass-metallicity relation at z > 3. Maiolino, R. et al. 2008, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 488, 463

Evidence of strong quasar feedback in the early Universe. Maiolino et al. 2012, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 425, L66

A supernova origin for dust in a high-redshift quasar. Maiolino et al. 2004, Nature, 431, 533

First detection of [CII]158 μm at high redshift: vigorous star formation in the early universe. Maiolino et al. 2005, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 440, L51

"Comets" orbiting a black hole. Maiolino et al. 2012, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 417, A47

The assembly of `normal' galaxies at z ˜ 7 probed by ALMA. Maiolino et al. 2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 452, 54

Star formation inside a galactic outflow. Maiolino et al. 2017, Nature, 544, 202

De re metallica: the cosmic chemical evolution of galaxies. Maiolino & Mannucci 2019, The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, Volume 27, Issue 1, article id. 3, 187 pp.

Massive molecular outflows and evidence for AGN feedback from CO observations. Cicone, Maiolino et al. 2014, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 562, id.A21, 25 pp

Quasar feedback revealed by giant molecular outflows. Feruglio, Maiolino et al. 2010, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 518, id.L155

Low-Luminosity and Obscured Seyfert Nuclei in Nearby Galaxies. Maiolino & Rieke 1995, Astrophysical Journal v.454, p.95

Dust in active nuclei. I. Evidence for "anomalous" properties. Maiolino et al. 2001, Astronomy and Astrophysics, v.365, p.28

Heavy obscuration in X-ray weak AGNs. Maiolino et al. 1998, Astronomy and Astrophysics, v.338, p.781

Strangulation as the primary mechanism for shutting down star formation in galaxies. Peng, Maiolino & Cochrane 2015, Nature, Volume 521, Issue 7551, pp. 192

KICC Annual Report 2019

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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

Oct 06, 2020

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 has been awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, and Andrea Ghez, for their discoveries about one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe: the black hole.

First joint measurement of exoplanet’s mass and brightness challenges classical model of planet formation

Oct 02, 2020

A team of astronomers led by led by KICC researcher Mathias Nowak have used the ESO instrument GRAVITY to take the first image of an exoplanet that had previously only been detected indirectly via the spectrum of its star.

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