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Ankur Upadhyaya

I am a first-year Ph.D. student in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick, UK. I am working with Dr. Elizabeth StanwayLink opens in a new window in the extra-galactic and modeling team. My current project is to compare the spectra of high redshift galaxies (z~5-7) obtained using the NIRSPEC spectrograph of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to those from the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) models. I compare the observations with models and try to understand what could be improved upon the models. It would help us to develop models that will better predict the observations and physical conditions of the early universe.

I completed my Master's thesis at the University of Geneva, Switzerland where I worked with Prof. Daniel Schaerer and Dr. Rui Marques-Chaves to detect Very Massive Stars (VMS) within the UV bright star-forming galaxies located at redshift between 2 to 4. I have used the new VMS models developed by Dr. Fabrice Martins and Dr. Ana Palacios of the University of Montpellier, France to detect the presence of VMS in these sources. This study led to other similar projects to detect the presence of VMS in the Sunburst Cluster (z=2.37) and in the local universe. I have also worked with the team of Dr. Eros Vanzella at INAF Bologna, Italy to detect the presence of VMS in the Sunburst Cluster and also worked with Dr. Fabrice Martins to detect the presence of VMS in the local universe. This has led to multiple publications. The list of my publications can be found by following this link to NASA ADSLink opens in a new window. My full CV can be requested hereLink opens in a new window.


Lead Author:
  • Evidence for Very Massive Stars in the Most Luminous Star-Forming Galaxies at Redshift (z)2-4, in prep. A&A.

Observing Proposals:

Hubble Space Telescope (HST):
  • Co-PI in Cycle 31: Successful allocation of 23 Orbits of HST Observation with WFC3 instrument: High-resolution imaging of the ionizing and non-ionizing radiation of extreme starbursts at z2-4 - Rui Marques-Chaves, Daniel Schaerer, John Chisholm, Pascal Oesch,.., Ankur Upadhyaya, Eros Vanzella Uros Mestric, et al.

  • Co-PI in Cycle 30: Successful allocation of 5 Orbits of HST Observation with WFC3 and ACS instruments: Studying the UV morphology of the galaxy J1316 with 90% LyC escape fraction - Rui Marques-Chaves, Daniel Schaerer, John Chisholm, Floriane Leclercq, Ankur Upadhyaya.

Very Large Telescope (VLT):
  • Co-PI in Cycle P111: Successful allocation of 1.5 nights of FORS32 Observation: Observations of the ionizing spectra in the Lyman continuum of distant starbursts - Rui Marques-Chaves, Daniel Schaerer,.., Ankur Upadhyaya.

  • Co-PI in Cycle P110: Successful allocation of 16 hours of Xshooter Observation: Xshooter Survey of Extremely UV and Lyα Luminous Star-forming Galaxies at z=2.0-3.6 - Rui Marques-Chaves, Daniel Schaerer,.., Ankur Upadhyaya.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):
  • Co-PI in Cycle 2: Not Accepted but listed on the 1st Quartile for 24.3 hours of JWST NIRSPEC and NIRCAM Observation: Enigmatic UV-bright Lyman continuum galaxies at z ∼ 2-4: laboratories for star-formation in extreme conditions and clues for UV-bright z > 10 galaxies - Rui Marques-Chaves, Daniel Schaerer, J Alvarez-Marquez, L Colina Robledo, P Oesch, Ankur Upadhyaya, et al.

Honors & Awards:

  • Warwick Ph.D. Prize Scholarship for top 3% candidates, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. The scholarship covers the Ph.D. tuition fee, and living stipend for 4 years at the UKRI rates, along with other benefits.
  • Scholarship worth CHF 12.5k for the academic year 2021-22 by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland associated with the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

I come from a poor background which makes me very passionate about the issue related to the upliftment of poor people. Coming from a poor background makes you realize that poverty is the principal cause of human misery, and one of my life goals is to try to eliminate human misery, starting with poverty. I also believe the immediate threat to human civilization is not an asteroid strike but rather a few bad human impulses that have the potential to end human civilization. I think with so much destructive power humanity may not survive more than a few hundred years until we suppress our bad impulses and amplify the good ones. I believe that one of the ways to amplify good impulses is through individual actions of kindness which can be practiced in everyday life. These actions may include helping, motivating, encouraging others, and being kind. Poverty also challenges this as it only brings out the worst of humanity. I think I am also one of the first generations of highly motivated people who are empowered by the decentralization and ease of access to information because of the ease of access to the internet and could climb from the bottom of human civilization to the top institutions around the world to study science and perform scientific research. Please don't hesitate to write me to learn more about me or my research work.


Write to:

Ankur Upadhyaya (he/him),
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact details: