Beus Center for Cosmic Foundations

Discovering Our Cosmic Origins

The story of our cosmic origins begins with the birth of the first stars and galaxies over 13 billion years ago, at the dawn of cosmic history. Over time, the explosive deaths of successive generations of stars seeded galaxies with elements, creating cosmic ecosystems of stellar birth, death, and gas recycling, and leading to a global peak and decline of star formation in the Universe. These processes led to galaxies like our Milky Way that contain the elements and conditions needed for life. 

The Beus Center for Cosmic Foundation brings together observational and theoretical astrophysicists, educators, instrument builders, and engineers to advance our knowledge of the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. Our work uses the most advanced astronomical observatories around the world and in space to explore pivotal periods in cosmic history. It builds on long-standing strengths of ASU scientists in astronomical research on stellar modeling, galactic environments, and cosmology. 

Founded in 2022 through a generous gift by philanthropists Leo and Annette Beus, the Center aims to accelerate research advances in the foundational role of the first stars and early galaxies and the complex processes they unleashed throughout cosmic time. Through the Center, we seek to foster and support an inclusive community of early-career scientists who will lead the next great discoveries in astrophysics that help humanity to better understand our place in the cosmos.

Beus Prize Fellowship

The fellowship is offered annually for early-career postdoctoral scientists to join our community, working with ASU researchers and our international collaborators. Fellowship details are available on the Beus Prize Fellowship webpage.

Meet the team

Judd Bowman, Director and Beus Chair of Cosmology

Judd Bowman is a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Bowman is recognized for his contributions to 21cm cosmology through his team’s pioneering EDGES instrument and the development of radio telescopes opening new views of the birth of stars. Bowman operates the Low-frequency Cosmology (LoCo) Lab with Assistant Professor Danny Jacobs.

Allison Noble, Beus Professor of Galaxy Evolution

Allison Noble is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Noble is an observational astronomer whose research is aimed at studying galaxy evolution and formation through the lens of environment, mass, and time. In particular, she focuses on the most extreme end of these parameters: The dense regions of galaxy clusters, the most massive galaxies in the Universe, and the cosmic “high noon” of star formation. 

Affiliated Faculty and Researchers

Sanchayeeta Borthakur
Assistant Professor

Sean Bryan
Associate Research Professor

Nathaniel Butler
Associate Professor

Seth Cohen
Assistant Research Scientist

Photo of Simon Foreman

Simon Foreman
Assistant Professor

Chris Groppi

Danny Jacobs
Assistant Professor

Rolf Jansen
Research Scientist

Tracee Jamison-Hooks
Associate Professor

Karen Knierman

Matthew Kolopanis
Assistant Research Scientist

Phil Mauskopf

Titu Samson
Assistant Research Professional

Evan Scannapieco

Molly Simon
Assistant Professor

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Peter Sims
Assistant Research Scientist

Sumner Starrfield
Regents Professor

Frank Timmes

Alex Van Engelen
Assistant Professor

Rogier Windhorst
Regents Professor

Patrick Young

Upcoming Events

Schedule of spring 2024 Beus Seminar speakers:  Allison Storm (Northwestern), Joaquin Vieira (U. Illinois), Johanna Nagy (Case Western), Julian Munoz (U. Texas), Alice Shapley (UCLA)

Click for a list of past events

Contact Us

For more information please contact Judd Bowman.

In the News

mage of galaxy pair VV191a (elliptical galaxy on the bottom) and VV191b

James Webb Space Telescope identifies fossil star cluster in distant galaxy

Arizona State University Graduate Associate Jessica Berkheimer used NASA’s James Webb Telescope to identify an extraordinary set of globular star clusters in a distant galaxy not seen before in deep Hubble Space Telescope data. The discovery provides astronomers the opportunity to study the evolution of star clusters in the universe.  Read more

Galaxy AM 1054-325

Hubble detects celestial 'String of Pearls' star clusters in galaxy collisions

The gravitational pull that forces collisions between galaxies creates tidal tails — long thin regions of stars and interstellar gas. The Hubble Space Telescope's vision is so sharp that it can see clusters of newborn stars strung along these tidal tails.  Read more

PEARLS Dwarf Galaxy

Team of astronomers led by ASU scientist discovers galaxy that shouldn’t exist

A team of astronomers, led by Arizona State University Assistant Research Scientist Tim Carleton, has discovered a dwarf galaxy that appeared in James Webb Space Telescope imaging that wasn’t the primary observation target.  Read more

Professors Shkolnik and Scannapieco

NASA gears up for its next giant space telescope

NASA recently announced the selection of the Science, Technology, Architecture Review Team (START) to include Arizona State University professors Evan Scannapieco and Evgenya Shkolnik of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.  Read more

Image of a galaxy cluster

Webb Telescope's gravitational lens reveals distant objects behind 'El Gordo' galaxy cluster

The NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the largest, most powerful and complex telescope in space. By observing through nature's natural lens, Webb has captured a new image of distant and dusty objects never seen before, which are amplified behind the most massive and distant galaxy cluster known as “El Gordo,” or "The Fat One."   Read more

Photo of Windhorst and Salinger

Einstein connects ASU professor, Holocaust survivor

Through brilliant new Webb Telescope images, researchers share proof of Albert Einstein theory with Arizona resident who met him 80 years ago.  Read more

Image of galaxies

Hubble, JWST together reveal vivid landscape of galaxies

Webb and Hubble have joined forces to study the galaxy cluster MACS0416, located about 4.3 billion light-years from Earth.  Their combined data yields a colorful panorama of blues and reds — colors that give clues to the distances of the galaxies. The resulting panchromatic image combines visible and infrared light to assemble one of the most comprehensive views of the universe ever taken.  Read more

Webb telescope PEARLS project unveils exquisite views of distant galaxies

For decades, the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes have provided us with spectacular images of galaxies. This all changed when the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched in December 2021 and successfully completed commissioning during the first half of 2022. For astronomers, the universe, as we had seen it, is now revealed in a new way never imagined by the telescopes's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument. Read more

ASU mourns loss of Leo Beus, attorney and philanthropist

Leo Beus’ generosity reached almost every corner of Arizona State University. With his wife, Annette, Beus for many years directed philanthropic support to a wide range of causes and programs at ASU with one unifying motive: to improve the lives of others. Read more

Webb images reveal interstellar discovery

Arizona State University astronomers are sharing one of their first and most beautiful NASA James Webb Space Telescope images of a galaxy pair at a distance of about 700 million light-years away from us. 

Using Webb’s new images and data, the scientists were able to trace the light that was emitted by the bright white elliptical galaxy through the winding spiral galaxy in front of it, allowing astronomers to identify the effects of interstellar dust in the spiral galaxy. Read more

ASU Assistant Profesor Daniel Jacobs selected for prestigious NSF CAREER award

The NSF CAREER program is a foundation-wide activity that offers awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department. Read more

Record broken: Hubble Space Telescope spots farthest star ever seen

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has established an extraordinary new benchmark: detecting the light of a star that existed within the first billion years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang — the farthest individual star ever seen to date. Read more or watch a video about this discovery.

ASU astronomer finds star fuel surrounding galaxies

Most galaxies, including our own, grow by accumulating new material and turning them into stars — that much is known. What has been unknown is where that new material comes from and how it flows into galaxies to create stars. Read more

New center launches with focus on early stars and galaxies

A new center at Arizona State University aims to help us better understand the history of early stars, galaxies and black holes to enhance our knowledge of the universe. The Beus Center for Cosmic Foundations was founded in the School of Earth and Space Exploration through a generous gift by philanthropists Leo and Annette Beus. Read more

ASU prepares for launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built. It is expected to launch from the European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana, no earlier than Saturday, Dec. 25, at 5:20 a.m. Mountain Time on the Ariane 5 rocket. Its destination is an orbit around the Sun-Earth second Lagrange point.  Read more

Dusting for fingerprints of the first stars in the universe

Long ago, about 400,000 years after the beginning of the universe —the Big Bang — the universe was dark. There were no stars or galaxies, and the universe was filled primarily with neutral hydrogen gas.

Then, for the next 50 million-100 million years, gravity slowly pulled the densest regions of gas together until they collapsed in some places to form the first stars. Read more

ASU’s ‘starbirth’ research a top 10 ‘Breakthrough of the Year’

A key discovery on the birth of stars and unexpected conditions in the early universe by Arizona State University cosmologist Judd Bowman and his research team has been chosen by the U.K.-based publication Physics World as one of its top 10 "Breakthroughs of the Year." Read more