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This profile was last updated on 8/8/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Tommaso Treu

Wrong Dr. Tommaso Treu?


405 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, California 90095
United States

Company Description: The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ( has more than 2,000faculty including world-renowned experts in clinical practice and...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Ph.D. , Astronomy and Astrophysics
    Scuola Normale Superiore
68 Total References
Web References
| W. M. Keck Observatory [cached]
The research group, from left to right, consists of: Drew Newman (grad student and lead author), Dave Sand (not involved), Richard Ellis, Tommaso Treu, Kevin Bundy, Stefania Treu, and Graham Smith (not involved).
These goals brought a team composed of Richard Ellis, Drew Newman, Tommaso Treu and myself to Keck in June 2009 and again in April 2010.
The research team published these results in the Astrophysical Journal Letters: Newman, A. B., Ellis, R. S., Treu, T., & Bundy, K. 2010 ApJL, 717, 103
A native of Italy, Tommaso Treu, now a UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist, earned degrees at University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore and was a graduate student at the Space Telescope Science Institute. His postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology and as a Hubble fellow at UCLA exposed him to two of the greatest telescopes in the world-Keck and Hubble-and he now uses both facilities to add bits and pieces from different cosmic eras to the galactic family album of the Universe.
"When I look up in the sky and see these incredible objects, like galaxies and star clusters, I want to know how they were assembled and why they came in the shape and color they're in and not any others," says Treu.
To answer these questions, Treu tracks how stars, gas and dust have interacted with unseen black holes and dark matter. He then determines how these relations have shaped the Universe.
His success recently earned him the 2010 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society, the major professional organization in North America for astronomers. The prize recognizes outstanding achievement in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from an astronomical object.
Treu's research focuses particularly on the supermassive black holes that lie at the heart of elliptical and spiral galaxies. The black holes are small relative to the mass of the entire galaxy, but, due to their gravity, they can accrete or gather material and convert it to energy, enough energy to outshine the entire galaxy.
This process is essential to the development of a galaxy and how galaxies evolve to shape the Universe, Treu says. That's because the energy output acts like a thermostat and keeps gas in the galaxy at a certain temperature to regulate star formation. If the gas remains cool, it can collapse and stars can develop. But if the black hole puts out exceedingly large amounts of energy, it may keep the gas warmer and keep the stars from forming, Treu says.
He adds that measuring the amount of energy a black hole, specifically those in the earliest galaxies, releases is important because the energy output may determine how the Universe evolved.
Of course, in the earliest galaxies, "we see a blob and have to interpret what is going on billions of light years away," Treu says. With Keck Observatory's Next Generation Adaptive Optics system, Treu will be able to sharpen his view of the blobs at shorter wavelengths. The improved resolution and ability to observe what is going on in the early Universe is essential to understanding cosmic history, he adds.
Treu will discuss his research honored by the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize at the 2011 winter AAS meeting to be held next January in Seattle, Washington.
Scientists 'Weigh' Tiny Galaxy Halfway Across Universe, 4 Oct 2007 [cached]
Second author Tommaso Treu, assistant professor of physics at UCSB , explained that the imaging is made possible by the fact that the newly discovered galaxy is positioned behind a massive galaxy, creating an "Einstein ring.
Treu and his colleagues in the Sloan Lens ACS Survey (SLACS) collaboration are at the forefront of the study of Einstein ring gravitational lenses . With gravitational lensing, light from distant galaxies is deflected on its way to Earth by the gravitational field of any massive object that lies in the way. Because the light bends, the galaxy is distorted into an arc or multiple separate images. When both galaxies are exactly lined up, the light forms a bull's-eye pattern, called an Einstein ring, around the foreground galaxy.
The mass estimate for the galaxy, and the inference that many of its stars have only recently formed, is made possible by the combination of optical and near infrared images from the Hubble Space Telescope with longer wavelength images obtained with the Keck Telescope . "If the galaxy is representative of a larger population, it could be one of the building blocks of today's spiral galaxies, or perhaps a progenitor of modern dwarf galaxies," said Treu.
An Evening With Dr. Tommaso Treu, 19 Mar 2009 [cached]
Guest Speaker: Dr. Tommaso Treu
The speaker for this evening will be Dr. Tommaso Treu. Dr. Tommaso Treu is an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, in 2001. He is an observer with broad expertise in extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. He brings knowledge about both ground-based and space-based astronomy, mainly at optical and near-infrared (IR) wavelengths, but also in the X-ray and mid-IR bands. Dr. Treu has been a NASA Hubble Fellow and is currently an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and David and Lucille Packard Research Fellow.
Dr.Treu is a member of the Space Telescope Users Committee and of the University of California Observatory Advisory Committee. He has been a member of time allocation committees for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the W.M. Keck Observatory, and a review panel for the National Science Foundation. He served as external referee for all major astronomical journals (The Astrophysical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Astronomical Journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics), and for the Italian Space Agency, Dutch Science Foundation, Chilean Science Foundation, British Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Canadian Gemini Time Allocation Committee.
In the community | W. M. Keck Observatory [cached]
Tommaso Treu is a cosmic genealogist. He collects and organizes images of the Universe in the same way an individual constructs a family tree with photos.
"You start with what's here today," says Treu, an astrophysicist at UC Santa Barbara. "Looking at the collection, you see what your parents looked like and you see what your grandparents looked like and you try to figure out what happened evolutionarily."
Instead of cataloguing images of his human ancestors, Treu begins with information on galaxies like the Milky Way and its neighbors. He then works his way back to the first compact, distant galaxies, which sit billions of light-years from Earth. His research recently earned him the 2010 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society, an award given annually to an astronomer under the age of 36 for outstanding achievement.
| W. M. Keck Observatory, 12 June 2009 [cached]
I study topics like galaxy formation, black holes, and gravitational lensing, all of which require the study of extremely faint and small targets," said Tommaso Treu, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the principal scientist for the Observatory's tip-tilt sensor.
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