Astronomers Speak Statistics: Statistical Challenges in the Deep Universe

Joel Leja Speaker
Pennsylvania State University
Monday, Aug 7: 8:35 AM - 9:00 AM
Introductory Overview Lectures 
Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
The James Webb Space Telescope is the culmination of thirty years of planning, twenty years of construction, and eleven billion dollars of funding, and for the past twelve months it has been dazzling astronomers and the public alike with spectacular early-release science images. I will provide an overview of this flagship telescope and discuss some of the stunning early, and sometimes tentative, discoveries in the field of galaxy formation, such as tantalizing evidence for massive galaxies that are forming "impossibly early" in the Universe, puzzling brand-new obscured galaxy populations unveiled by JWST, and multiple new records for the most distant object observed by astronomers. I finish with key outstanding questions in the field of galaxies and their statistical underpinnings: when, where, and how did these vast cosmic ecosystems assemble? Armed with ultra-deep data from JWST, we are in a better position to answer these questions than ever before. Yet these new data breathe new life into long-standing statistical challenges in understanding extragalactic observations: how do we coherently model all of these processes at once?