We have moved from asking What is in the universe? to How did the those things come to be?
I try to answer this question by examining the diffuse phase of the universe. The story of every object in the universe can be simply told as "diffuse material became dense under the influence of gravity". My work aims to understand the flow of this diffuse material. To do this I use spectroscopic measurements of gas (chiefly the 21-cm line) as well as observations of the effects of dust obscuration. The spectroscopy helps me better understand the velocities of gas; the dust helps me understand where the enriched material is in our universe.
At STScI I work in the Archives, developing scientific functionality of the
Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes .