The First Gigayear(s)


From 30 September to 3 October 2024 (3.5 days)


Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Main topics

The first gigayear(s) of cosmic history has long been a source of wonder for astrophysicists. At these cosmic times the first stars, galaxies, and black holes formed and dramatically changed the physical status of the Universe. Our knowledge of this phase of transition (the so-called epoch of reionization) is being revolutionized by new instruments and surveys, including the first results from the James Webb Space Telescope. The sensitivity of these new facilities is allowing us to explore the early Universe at a variety of wavelengths and is exposing the properties of the first stars and galaxies and their role in reionizing the Universe in unprecedented detail. At the same time, galaxy formation simulations are getting more detailed and sophisticated, providing a solid theoretical background for the new observational discoveries. In this context old questions have been revamped and new issues are now emerging.

  • When and where did the first galaxies form? Is their density consistent with the reionization history of the Universe?
  • How is the feedback from the first stars regulating the growth of galaxies?
  • When and where did the first black holes form? What are their precursor seeds? What is their impact on the host galaxies?
  • What is the timeline of the reionization?
  • What is the role of early protoclusters in shaping the properties of galaxies?

With this conference we aim to bring together experts from the different fields to review and discuss the most recent results, and to carry out the preparatory theoretical and observational work to get the most from current and new facilities.

SOC members

Anniek Gloudemans (NSF NOIRLab)
Brian Lemaux (International Gemini Observatory/NSF NOIRLab)
Christina Williams (NSF NOIRLab) 
Debora Pelliccia (UCSC)
Emanuele Paolo Farina (International Gemini Observatory/NSF NOIRLab) (Chair)
Hyewon Suh (International Gemini Observatory/NSF NOIRLab)
Janice Lee (STScI)
Julia Scharwächter (International Gemini Observatory/NSF NOIRLab)
Kristin Chiboucas (International Gemini Observatory/NSF NOIRLab)
Nicole Drakos (UH)
Pablo Arrabal Haro (NSF NOIRLab) 
Thales Gutcke (IfA)

LOC members

Ally Tapia
Emanuele Paolo Farina (Chair)
Hyewon Suh
Jerry Brower 
Jessica Harris
Julia Scharwächter
Joy Pollard
Kristin Chiboucas
Leinani Lozi 
Nicole Auza 
Peter Michaud 
Teo Močnik

Invited speakers


The organizers consider this meeting a privileged occasion for a free and respectful interchange of scientific ideas and for nurturing and creating professional and social contacts. During the First Gigayear(s) conference the Code of Conduct for NOIRLab Meetings will apply, which is available here.