I'm Kate Storey-Fisher (she/her), a postdoc at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, where I work with Professor Raúl Angulo. I completed my PhD at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at New York University where I was a NASA FINESST fellow. In Fall 2024, I will begin a position as a Kavli Fellow at Stanford KIPAC.

I study the large-scale structure of the universe—how we can use observations of galaxies and other astronomical objects to understand fundamental cosmological properties. More broadly, I’m interested in the application of data science and statistics to astrophysical problems.

I am also a writer, a public science educator, an open source advocate, a labor organizer, a half-marathoner, and an extremely dedicated member of my book club.

Research

I primarily work on developing new data science methods for large-scale structure analysis, to better constrain cosmological parameters and understand the galaxy–halo connection. You can find my publications on SAO/NASA ADS and the arXiv. These are a few of my current and recent projects:

Emulation of Clustering Statistics
With the Aemulus collaboration, I aim to tap into the cosmological constraining power at small scales. We use Gaussian process emulators to model galaxy clustering statistics. I investigated emulating beyond-standard statistics to further constrain the growth of structure; check out our paper.
Continuous 2-Point Function Estimation
I developed a new estimator for galaxy clustering that is continuous in galaxy separation, and any other property (binning is sinning!). It is a generalization of the 2-point correlation function using least-squares fitting. Check out the paper and the code, suave. My collaborator Abby Williams is using it to measure horizon-scale gradients.
Equivariant ML for Cosmology
My collaborators have developed a new approach for enforcing physical symmetries in machine learning tasks by constructing invariant scalars from geometric objects, which greatly improves performance. We are currently applying the approach to DM halos in cosmological simulations to learn their relationship to galaxy properties.
Quaia, the Gaia-unWISE Quasar Catalog
The Gaia Milky Way mission incidentally observed 6.6 million quasar candidates! I worked with a team of collaborators to use this sample to contruct a quasar catalog for large-scale structure cosmology, dubbed Quaia. Check out our first cosmological result with Quaia, a cross-correlation analysis with CMB lensing. More results to come! And check out this nifty animation.
Anomalous Galaxies with GANs
I applied Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to detect anomalous images in the Hyper-Suprime Cam survey. Along with a novel method for anomaly characterization with convolutional autoencoders, we found galaxy mergers, tidal features, extreme star-formers, and even some unexplainable objects. Read about it here, and find more https://weirdgalaxi.es yourself!

Teaching

Courses

Pedagogy

  • Spring 2019: Design Team Leader, Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educator’s Professional Development Program (ISEE PDP). Led a team to design and teach a workshop on galaxy spectroscopy at CCA.
  • Spring 2018: Participant, ISEE PDP. Designed and taught a workshop on Bayes Theorem at CCA.

Writing

I have written for Astrobites, a site by graduate students that summarizes new astrophysics research papers and dishes out other astro-focused content. I have also written for the Cooper Square Review, a publication by the NYU Journalism Institute, where I completed the Science Communication Workshops. These are a few selected pieces:

The Algorithms That Rule Your Life: "Hello World" by Hannah Fry (CSR)
Drop It Like It’s Biased: A Step-by-Step Guide to Dropping the GRE (Astrobites)
Iterative Emulation is the Sincerest Form of Parameter Estimation (Astrobites)
Morpheus, God of Dreams and Morphological Galaxy Classification (Astrobites)
Queer Figures in Astronomy History (Astrobites)
Twelve Zoom Features That Would Actually Make Academia Better (CSR)

Updates

  • December 2023: I gave the GRAPPA colloquium at the University of Amsterdam.
  • November 2023: I attended the IX Meeting on Fundamental Cosmology in La Laguna in the Canary Islands, and visited Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.
  • October 2023: I started my postdoc at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) with Prof. Raúl Angulo.
  • July–August 2023: I took a much-needed post-PhD break! Highly recommend.
  • June 2023: We submitted our papers on the Quaia quasar catalog and a cosmological analysis with it!
  • May 2023: I defended my PhD and became a doctor! I am so grateful to my entire community who got me here—especially my advisor, David W. Hogg. Check out my full acknowledgements (and the rest of my thesis, if you’re so inclined) here.
  • May 2023: I was invited to give a talk at the Cosmic Connections Symposium on Astrophysics x ML at the Flatiron Institute.
  • May 2023: I attended the Cosmology with the Large-Scale structure of the Universe (CosmoLSS) workshop at the Donostia International Physics Center in Donostia–San Sebastián, Spain (my future institution!).
  • April 2023: I gave a CfA seminar at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics.
  • March 2023: I attended the Coworking Retreat on Equivariant Machine Learning at Johns Hopkins University.
  • March 2023: I gave a talk on my equivariant cosmology project at the Flatiron CCA’s Tri-State Cosmology X Data Science meeting.
  • February 2023: I virtually attended the Beyond-2pt Statistics Data Challenge meeting at the University of Arizona.
  • February 2023: I accepted postdoctoral positions at the Donostia International Physics Center with Prof. Raúl Angulo and as a Kavli Fellow at Stanford KIPAC! I’m so grateful for everyone who supported me throughout job season.
  • February 2023: I attended the BASP (Biomedical and Astrophysical Signal Processing) Frontiers 2023 in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, and won a best contribution award for my talk on equivariant machine learning for cosmological simulations!
  • January 2023: I gave a three-minute talk at the NYC astro community’s GothamFest, hosted at Flatiron CCA.
  • January 2023: I attended AAS241 in Seattle, where I gave a dissertation talk, repped Astrobites, and saw lots of great talks.

For older updates, visit this page.

Outreach

I am involved in outreach programs and events aimed at engaging the public in science and increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Science Writing Workshops
I co-led a workshop with Astrobites at AAS235 on effectively communicating science through writing, and am involved in other efforts using writing as a tool for outreach.
Skype a Scientist
I talk with classrooms of students, from 7th graders to high schoolers, about my experience as an astrophysicist via the Skype a Scientist program.
Public Talks
I give public talks on astronomy and science, to local astronomy groups and at observatories, as well as a talk at Astronomy on Tap. I have also been a guest on the comedy game show Astronaut Training at Caveat in NYC.

Service

  • I served on the Science Organizing Committee of the special session Critical Challenges for Machine Learning in Astronomy at the European Astronomical Society meeting in June 2022.
  • I have been a reviewer for The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), the NeurIPS Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences (ML4PS) workshop, and the Journal of Open Source Science (JOSS).
  • I was the founding co-chair of the graduate student organization at NYU, G-PHORCE (Graduate Physics Organization for Research, Culture, and Education).
  • I co-organized the astro-ph journal club in the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics (CCPP) at NYU.
  • I was on the board of the Women in Physics (WiPhy) group at NYU.

Contact me!

Feel free to get in touch—you could open a pull request on one of my repos, or send a carrier pigeon to Spain, but probably just send me an email.