I am an Astronomer working at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth, UK. See my offical Portsmouth listing here. I am a Reader in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
I am the Project Scientist for Galaxy Zoo so most of my research time is spent combining classifications from this project with other data to study galaxy evolution. My PhD student, Tom Melvin is also working with Galaxy Zoo data.
I'm a member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III and SDSS-IV). I am the Director of Public Engagement and Outreach for SDSS-IV, and in addition I'm a member of the MaNGA science team (specifically Multiwavelength Followup Co-ordinator and a member of the Kinematics Strategic Committee).
I'm the Public Engagement Co-ordinator for ICG, which these days mostly just involved telling Jen Gupta she's doing the right things. I'm also a member of the University of Portsmouth Athena SWAN Committee.
In recent years I'm grateful for funding from SEPnet, The Leverhulme Trust, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Technology Research Investment Fund.
You can follow me on Twitter @KarenLMasters, or read my science related blog posts.
A short "Did you Know?" video produced by The University of Portsmouth on my use of Citizen Science for research.
Selected Recent Papers
Galaxy Zoo: an independent look at the evolution of the bar fraction over the last eight billion years from HST-COSMOS, Tom Melvin, Karen Masters et al. 2014 MNRAS 438, 2882. We used 2380 visually selected disc galaxies from the COSMOS survey to study the redshift evolution of the disc galaxy bar fraction. Will form a major part of Tom's PhD thesis (expected Mar 2015).
Galaxy Zoo and ALFALFA: Atomic Gas and the Regulation of Star Formation in Barred Disc Galaxies, Karen Masters et al. 2012 MNRAS (in press; arXiV:1205.5271). We used 2090 galaxies with both morphologies from Galaxy Zoo and data on atomic hydrogen content from the ALFALFA survey at Arecibo to study the links between atomic gas content and whether or not a galaxy hosts a bar. We found a clear anti-correlation between atomic gas content and likelihood of hosting a bar. You can read more about this work in this blog article, and look at the galaxies in the sample here.
The Morphology of Galaxies in the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, Karen Masters et al. 2011 MNRAS 418, 1055 (arXiV:1106.3331). A look at the small fraction of the 1.5 millon intermediate redshift galaxies being observed by the SDSS3 project BOSS which have Hubble Space Telescope images. A blog post about the work appears on the SDSS3 blog.
Galaxy Zoo: Bar Lengths in Nearby
Disc Galaxies, Ben Hoyle, Karen
Masters, Bob Nichol et al. 2011, MNRAS.
The results of a Portsmouth based Galaxy Zoo offshoot project in which Ben Hoyle developed an interface using Google Sky in which volunteers could draw the shapes and sizes of bars on Galaxy Zoo galaxies. Our main finding is that bars in redder discs are longer and redder than those in bluer discs. MNRAS 415, 3627 ArXiV link. Ben's Galaxy Zoo blog post about it..
Galaxy Zoo: Bars in Disk Galaxies, Karen Masters
et al. 2011, MNRAS
The first results from Galaxy Zoo 2 on trends of the bar fraction with other properties of disk galaxies. ( ArXiv link). See my blog post about this work and this page has some example images for this project. It was the subject of a RAS press release, and got covered in Nature Research Highlights, The Economist, Astronomy Now, A&G, WIRED and other places online like World Science.