Puragra (Raja) Guha Thakurta

TitleProfessor/Astronomer,
Astronomy & Astrophysics
DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentPBSci-Astronomy & Astrophysics Dept,
UC Observatories
Phone831-459-5169
Email,
FAX831-426-3115
Web Site Personal Web Page
Science Internship Program
Office271 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building (ISB)
Campus Mail StopUCO / Lick Observatory
MailUCO/Lick Observatory, Dept of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Univ of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA
95064
Puragra (Raja) Guha Thakurta

Research Interests

My research is focused on the formation and evolution of galaxies – specifically, their accretion/cannibalism history, dark matter content, chemical enrichment, and star formation history. One approach is the study of the local "fossil record." Our group at UCSC led the SPLASH survey of red giant stars in our closest large neighbor Andromeda (M31) and its dwarf satellites using the Keck II 10-m telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph. SPLASH includes the spectroscopic supplement to PHAT, the HST multi-cycle treasury survey of M31. We also lead the ongoing HALO7D survey, which involves very deep Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy and HST-based proper motions of stars in the Milky Way's outer halo, and the spectroscopic components of the PISCeS survey of nearby galaxy groups and the NGVS survey of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. A second approach is based on "direct look-back" to distant galaxies. With colleagues Faber and Koo at UCSC and Conroy at Harvard, we have obtained very deep spectra of distant galaxies in the CANDELS fields as part of HALO7D. The same group was part of the UC-led DEEP2, DEEP3, and multi-wavelength (Chandra, GALEX, HST, Spitzer, VLA, etc.) AEGIS survey of distant galaxies. Other research interests include interstellar dust grains and their interaction with radiation, and the stellar populations and chemical abundance of globular clusters.

Biography, Education and Training

BSc, St Xavier's College, 1984
PhD, Princeton University, 1989

Honors, Awards and Grants

– National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Memorial Prize and Fellowship (2001)


– Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, University of California Santa Cruz (1997)


– Hubble Fellowship, Princeton University (1992)