When was the Epoch of Galaxy Formation?

As a cosmologist I am often asked when was the Epoch of Galaxy Formation?

Here I provide the definitive answer: the meeting entitled The Epoch of Galaxy Formation took place in Durham between July 18th and 22nd 1988, i.e. about 33 years ago. Here is a relic of that period.

I am in there with John Barrow to my left (ie your right) . I can also identify Jim Peebles, Simon White, Richard Ellis, George Efstathiou and Carlos Frenk, Martin Rees and Tom Shanks among others but I wonder how many others you can identify…

P.S. Note the male-female asymmetry in cosmology was much greater in this period during the early Universe.

UPDATE: here is the solution to the problem.

27 Responses to “When was the Epoch of Galaxy Formation?”

  1. Shantanu Says:

    I can spot Paul Shapiro. Is the person in extreme right (two rows from front) Pavel Kroupa?

  2. Shantanu Says:

    Also Adrian Melott

  3. Jim Fry Says:


    bernard carr (behind, to left of pjep)

    mike fall (2nd from right, 2nd [or 3rd] row)

    barbara ryden (in front of bjones)

    david weinberg (bearded, behind and to right of bjones)

    jerry sellwood (with name tag, towards the back in the middle)

    is that not ed turner, not adrian melott, between ryden and white?

  4. Greg Wilson Says:

    Ken Freeman second row right, John Norris 2 from Ken’s right

  5. I see Wal Sargent and Art Wolfe over on the right (our right), and I think maybe Pat McCarthy (a little back and right from center)? Lars Hernquist left near back (pointed out by James Bullock on Twitter). Furthest back on the center-left (our left) side looks like Jonathan Gardner.

  6. I think that’s Hugh Couchman who is [up 2, right 1] relative to Bernard Carr

  7. Shantanu Says:

    Just out of curiosity was LCDM discussed in this meeting? Did anyone also discuss MOND?

    • telescoper Says:

      LCDM wasn’t on the cards back then. It wasn’t until the 90s that it started to figure. I honestly don’t remember about MOND but I doubt there were any talks about.

  8. You posted the picture and we did the identifications a few years ago.

  9. Shantanu Says:

    Who is the person directly in front of Pavel Kroupa ( and to the extreme right) and with rolled up shirt and both hands behind? Again looks quite familiar but cannot place the name

    • telescoper Says:

      The person on the extreme right is Tom Shanks. I’m not sure who you think is Pavel Kroupa but the person to the left and behind Tom Shanks is Alan Heavens.

  10. Shantanu Says:

    Peter, thanks. I got confused between Pavel Kroupa and Alan Heavens. No one guessed Jacob Bekenstein. Didn’t know he was into galaxy formation. or for that matter Jes Madsen (whom I associate with neutron stars/strange stars etc). Incidentally no one from Russia.

    • telescoper Says:

      1988 was just before the Russians were allowed to travel freely.

    • Bekenstein as a major MOND advocate was certainly into galaxy formation.

      • Shantanu Says:

        Yes, but I think Peter mentioned that there was no discussion of MOND at that meeting and Bekenstein had only 1 paper on MOND in 1980s https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1984ApJ…286….7B
        Also, as LCDM was not the “standard model” in the 1980s, I presume everything discussed in that meeting wrt galaxy formation is completely wrong?

      • telescoper Says:

        The standard model then was so-called SCDM (Omega=1 with CDM and baryons only), but other versions were discussed. The main difference with LCDM is that everything happens later in SCDM. The epoch of galaxy formation is much earlier in LCDM. You have to remember however that in those days a galaxy was at “high redshift” if it was at z=0.5. We simply couldn’t see very distant galaxies. Now we have them at z=10!

      • It is rare in science that it ever turns out that everything is completely wrong. Forget Kuhn. As I posted in another thread, the late, great Steve Weinberg wrote “I don’t believe it for a minute”.

        Click to access Nature%20of%20Science_Asimov.pdf

      • Strange. WordPress now seems to be trying to embed links to PDF files. I wanted to link to an essay by Isaac Asimov which addresses the “everything wrong” trope.

  11. Speaking of John Barrow, although he never appeared on television, not long after the conference he had a guest role in a music video by Genesis. (Phil Collins is the blond bloke with glasses.)

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