class2008, day two

This morning concentrated on understanding galaxies in large surveys. Among a set of interesting talks about galaxy classification, Boris Haeussler gave a nice talk in which he put the standard 2-d galaxy fitting codes through their paces, and found some very interesting things, including underestimated errors—even when he puts in fake data for which the fitting codes are not making approximations! Vivienne Wild spoke about a robust PCA and its use in understanding rare populations such as post-starbursts and their role in galaxy continuity. Two of my favorite topics in one talk! The PCA adjustment is very smart although somewhat ad-hoc (not described in terms of probabilistic inference). The post-starburst work is even better; it confirms our results that suggest that post-starbursts are key in the evolution of stellar mass from the blue to red sequences. Many other good contributions too numerous to mention, with a lot of people working on optimal extraction of information from spectra; very encouraging for the future of spectroscopy.

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