Michael Zemcov Headshot

Michael Zemcov

Associate Professor

School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

Office Location

Michael Zemcov

Associate 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

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.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course will provide a basic introduction to modern astrophysics, following on from Fundamental Astrophysics I. Topics will include basic celestial mechanics and galactic dynamics, the Milky Way and other galaxies, the interstellar medium, active galactic nuclei, galaxy formation and evolution, and an introduction to cosmology. This course will provide the physical background needed to interpret both observations and theoretical models in galactic and extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology and prepare students for more advanced topics and research in astrophysics.
1 - 3 Credits
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
0 Credits
Continuation of Thesis
1 - 4 Credits
An independent study in an area of astrophysical sciences and technology not covered in the available courses. This study may be reading study of an appropriate textbook, literature review, or other appropriate work. The course requires a formal proposal, faculty sponsor, and program approval.
3 Credits
This course will cover the evolution of the universe from the big bang to the present, with an emphasis on the synergy between theory and observations. Topics will fall under three general headings: classical and relativistic cosmology, the early universe, and structure formation.
1 - 6 Credits
Dissertation research by the candidate for an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
0 Credits
Continuation of Thesis
3 Credits
This course is an introductory graduate-level overview of techniques in and applications of data analysis in physics and related fields. Topics examined include noise and probability, model fitting and hypothesis testing, signal processing, Fourier methods, and advanced computation and simulation techniques. Applications are drawn from across the contemporary physical sciences, including soft matter, solid state, biophysics, and materials science. The subjects covered also have applications for students of astronomy, signal processing, scientific computation, and others.
1 - 4 Credits
Graduate-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
0 Credits
Graduate-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.

In the News

  • February 1, 2023

    four researchers standing in a room under construction.

    Expanding RIT’s research footprint

    RIT has been expanding its research footprint to accommodate the university’s growing research portfolio. The Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED), which opens this fall, is enabling the university to convert 10 existing classrooms, totaling more than 23,000 square feet, into new research space. Another 14,700 square feet of research space opened in January in Brown Hall.

  • December 16, 2022

    Artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.

    New study confirms the light from outside our galaxy brighter than expected

    In a study led by RIT researchers, scientists analyzed new measurements showing that the light emitted by stars outside our galaxy is two to three times brighter than the light from known populations of galaxies, challenging assumptions about the number and environment of stars are in the universe.