Andrés Alejandro Plazas Malagón
Rubin Operations Scientist, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
I’m a Rubin Operations Scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, as part of the Calibration and Community Science Teams, and I’m actively engaged in the Rubin Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Dark Energy and Strong Lensing Science Collaborations (DESC and SLSC). I’m an Affiliate in the Department of Physics at Harvard University and a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis.
As an observational cosmologist, my research focuses on studying the origin and evolution of the Universe. I’m particularly interested in understanding the distribution of dark matter through techniques like gravitational lensing, providing insights into the nature of dark matter and dark energy. This involves meticulous analysis, addressing systematic errors in instrument signatures, galaxy shape measurement, and PSF characterization. I’m also interested in astronomical instrumentation, novel technologies like Skipper CCDs for astronomy, and the application of Machine Learning techniques and Generative AI in astronomy.Since 2006, I’ve been part of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration, actively contributing to it and being recognized as a builder since 2013. I’ve also been involved in the Hyper-Suprime Camera survey collaboration and worked on characterizing Roman NIR detectors for cosmic shear analysis.
My extensive experience in DESC (as a member since 2013 and builder since 2023) includes active participation in various groups like sensor anomalies, weak lensing, and PSF working groups. In DESC, I’ve taken on several service and leadership roles such as internal reviewer, member of the DESC Collaboration Council, membership, EDI committee, chair of the meetings committee, and DESC liaison to Rubin EPO. Additionally, I hold a unique position working at the US Department of Energy’s host national laboratory for DESC (SLAC).
Beyond research, mentoring, education and public outreach, and accessibility and inclusion are strong interests of mine. I’ve mentored undergraduate and graduate students, and postdocs, including those from underrepresented minorities. My mentoring journey includes participation in the DESC mentoring program, virtual mentoring of Colombian students via the RECA Mentoring and Internship programs, and mentoring Princeton Astro undergraduate students. I’ve also served on the LSST DA Catalyst Fellowship “Mentor Task Force” and contributed to the development of Individual Development Plans for mentors. My commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion extends to serving on the DES EDI committee, co-chairing the TEAM-UP implementation workshop team at Princeton Astro, currently serving in the DESC EDI committee, and working on accessibility within the Rubin Community Science Team in the framework of Research Inclusion. I’ve also been actively involved in public outreach in Spanish, leveraging my native language skills to communicate science and astronomy to the Hispanic community in the USA. My research and mentoring experiences continue to shape my career, fueling my passion for cosmology and education.