Dr. Rachel Friesen

While at the Dunlap, Rachel Friesen studied the earliest stages of star formation by observing the cold, dense molecular clouds from which stars arise. She examined the light emitted by molecules within these regions to gain an understanding of the composition, structure, temperature and internal motions of these stellar nurseries—and thus gain a better understanding of the birth of stars and planetary systems.

Because this light is found at radio wavelengths, Friesen makes her observations using radio telescopes facilities like the Very Large Array, the Australia Telescope Compact Array, and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. She also makes use of observations from space telescopes such as the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory.

Friesen received her PhD from the University of Victoria, and joined the Dunlap Institute in August, 2012, from the North American ALMA Science Center at the NRAO in Charlottesville, Virginia. She left the Dunlap in September 2017 to become an Assistant Scientist at the North American ALMA Science Center, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In August 2017, Friesen was interviewed about the role the Dunlap and U of T played in advancing her career.