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 varitey 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 the 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 a number of 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.


Currently Teaching

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.
3 Credits
This course provides a survey of the structure of the universe on the largest scales, including galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The course also provides an overview of the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the current day, and describes the observational evidence for our current values of the cosmological parameters.
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
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.
1 Credits
This course is the second in a two-semester sequence intended to familiarize students with research activities, practices, and ethics in the university research environment and to introduce students to commonly used research tools. As part of the course, students are expected to attend research seminars sponsored by the Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Program and participate in a weekly journal club. The course also provides training in scientific writing and presentation skills. Credits earned in this course apply to research requirements.
0 Credits
Continuation of Thesis

Latest News

  • April 23, 2019

    Researchers stand in front of gigantic observatory.

    RIT researchers help conduct experiment to study how the first stars and galaxies formed

    While many people flock to warm destinations for spring break, two RIT experimental cosmologists spent theirs 6,800 feet high on snow-covered Kitt Peak at the Arizona Radio Observatory. They were deploying an instrument to a 12-meter telescope for a project called the Tomographic Ionized-carbon Mapping Experiment (TIME), which aims to study the universe’s first stars and galaxies.

  • February 13, 2019

    Artists rendering of satellite in space

    RIT faculty part of NASA’s $242M SPHEREx mission

    Assistant Professor Michael Zemcov is part of a small team of scientists contributing to NASA’s new mission to explore the origins of the universe by performing the first near-infrared all-sky spectral survey. 

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
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.
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.
Published Conference Proceedings
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.