Since the advent of large-area, high-quality astronomical surveys strong gravitational lensing has transitioned from a small-N to a large-N discipline. Galaxy cluster scale strong lensing, in particular, holds tremendous untapped potential. I will summarize our recent progress toward unlocking the scientific potential of large samples of strong lensing systems to address fundamental problems in astrophysics and cosmology. Focusing on recent results that highlight our sophisticated lensing analysis toolbox, I will present several pioneering measurements that lay the groundwork for future work that will use large numbers of highly magnified galaxies to answer outstanding questions about the physics of star formation and the properties of the interstellar medium in the epoch during which the Universe formed most of its stars. In addition to their value as natural telescopes, the massive structures that are responsible for the lensing action are, themselves, rare and powerful tools for testing the Lambda-CDM cosmological paradigm via the growth of structure and the mass distributions of lensing clusters.
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Matthew Bayliss (University of Cincinnati)