Michael Zemcov Headshot

Michael Zemcov

Assistant Professor
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

Office Location

Michael Zemcov

Assistant Professor
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science


BSc, University of British Columbia (Canada); Ph.D., Cardiff University (United Kingdom)


I am a research professor at the Center for Detectors and the School of Physics and Astronomy whose primary focus is experimental astrophysics. My research centers on instrumentation for cosmological observations, including the cosmic microwave and infra-red backgrounds. I develop instruments and data analysis methods for a variety of platforms, including ground-based, sub-orbital rockets, and orbital observatories. Currently, my scientific focus is on the epoch of reionization, secondary anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, and studies of the history of star formation in the Universe using novel techniques and experiments. I have extensive experience with instrumentation, observation and data analysis for astrophysics throughout the electromagnetic spectrum from the optical to the radio, with particular emphasis on the infra-red and sub-mm/mm regimes. My group is currently involved in several projects in a variety of roles, ranging from technology development to the scientific interpretation of data from mature instruments.

For more information please visit the Zemcov Research Group website.


Personal Links
Areas of Expertise

Currently Teaching

0 Credits
Continuation of Thesis
1 - 3 Credits
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
1 - 6 Credits
Dissertation research by the candidate for an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
1 - 3 Credits
This is a graduate course on a topic that is not part of the formal curriculum. This course is structured as an ordinary course and has specific prerequisites, contact hours, and examination procedures.
0 Credits
Continuation of Thesis
0 Credits
Graduate-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
3 Credits
This course will cover objects in the universe beyond our own Milky Way galaxy, with an emphasis on the observational evidence. Topics will include properties of ordinary and active galaxies; galaxy clusters; the extragalactic distance scale; evidence for dark matter; cosmological models with and without lambda.
3 Credits
In this course students will learn aspects of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity including time dilation, length contraction, Lorentz transformations, velocity transformations, relativistic Doppler effect, issues with simultaneity, and relativistic expressions for energy and momentum.
1 - 4 Credits
Graduate-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.

In the News

  • November 18, 2019

    Two researchers wearing cleansuits work on detector equipment.

    Researchers prepare rocket for launch

    A team of RIT researchers is helping launch an experiment above the atmosphere to better understand extragalactic background light, which traces the history of galaxies back to the formation of the first stars in the universe.

  • September 12, 2019

    Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) semiconductor chip.

    Scientists developing single photon detector to help search for habitable exoplanets

    NASA is awarding a team of researchers from RIT and Dartmouth College a grant to develop a detector capable of sensing and counting single photons that could be crucial to future NASA astrophysics missions. The extremely sensitive detector would allow scientists to see the faintest observable objects in space, such as Earth-like planets around other stars.

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Chang, Feng, and Zemcov, Michael. "Multi-component Decomposition of Cosmic Infrared Background Fluctuations." The Astrophysical Journal 875. 2 (2019): 13. Web.
Duncan, Farrah, and Zemcov, Michael. "Review: Far-infrared Instrumentation and Technological Development for the Next Decade." Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 5. (2019): 20901. Web.
Rodríguez-Muñoz, Lucia and Michael Zemcov. "Quantifying the Suppression of the (Un)-obscured Star Formation in Galaxy Cluster Cores at 0.2≲ z ≲0.9." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 485. 1 (2019): 586-619. Web.
Sayers, Jack and Michael Zemcov. "Imaging the Thermal and Kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect Signals in a Sample of 10 Massive Galaxy Clusters: Constraints on Internal Velocity Structures and Bulk Velocities." The Astrophysical Journal 880. 1 (2019): 15. Web.
Viero, Marco and Michael Zemcov. "Measurements of the Cross-spectra of the Cosmic Infrared and Microwave Backgrounds from 95 to 1200 GHz." The Astrophysical Journal 881. 2 (2019): 12. Web.
Poppe, Andrew and Michael Zemcov. "Constraining the Solar System's Debris Disk with In Situ New Horizons Measurements from the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt." The Astrophysical Journal Letters 881. 1 (2019): L12. Web.
Zemcov, Michael, et al. "Astrophysics with New Horizons: Making the Most of a Generational Opportunity." Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 130. 993 (2018): 115001. Print.
Nguyen, Chi, et al. "Integration and Instrument Characterization of the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment 2 (CIBER-2)." SPIE 10698. 106984J (2018): 1. Web.
Park, Won-Kee, et al. "Development of Data Storage System and GSE for Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment 2 (CIBER-2)." SPIE 10698. 1069849 (2018): 1. Web.
Korngut, Philip, James Bock, and Michael Zemcov. "SPHEREx: an all-sky NIR spectral survey." SPIE 10698. 106981U (2018): 1. Web.
Duivenvoorden, Stephen, Seb Oliver, and Michael Zemcov. "Red, Redder, Reddest: SCUBA-2 Imaging of Colour-selected Herschel Sources." MNRAS 477. 1 (2018): 1099-1119. Web.
Sun, Jason, Lorenzo Moncelsi, and Michael Zemcov. "A Foreground Masking Strategy for [C II] Intensity Mapping Experiments Using Galaxies Selected by Stellar Mass and Redshift." ApJ 856. 2 (2018): 15. Web.
Nayyeri, Hooshang, N Ghotbi, and Michael Zemcov. "Spitzer Observations of the North Ecliptic Pole." ApJ 234. 2 (2018): 9. Web.
Published Conference Proceedings
Brandt, Pontus and Michael Zemcov. "Interstellar Probe: A Cross-Divisional Mission in to the Galaxy." Proceedings of the Space Astrophysics Landscape for the 2020s and Beyond. Ed. Malmquist, Fred. Potomac, MD: n.p., 2019. Web.
Dore, Olivier, Michael Werner, and Michael Zemcov. "Science Impacts of the SPHEREx All-Sky Optical to Near-Infrared Spectral Survey II: Report of a Community Workshop on the Scientific Synergies Between the SPHEREx Survey and Other Astronomy Observatories." Proceedings of the SPHEREx Workshop II. Ed. Dore, Warner. Cambridge, MA: n.p., 2018. Web.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Zemcov, Michael. "An Opportunity for Astrophysics from the Outer Solar System." 42nd COSPAR Meeting. COSPAR. Pasadena, CA. 1 Jul. 2018. Conference Presentation.