Dr. Esther Mármol
On January 13th, 2009, Esther Mármol Queraltó has successfully obtained the PhD degree from the defense of the work entitled Caracterización del índice de CO en 2.3 micras y su aplicación al estudio de poblaciones estelares en galaxias de primeros tipos, obtaining the highest qualification Sobresaliente Cum Laude. This work has been supervised by Dr. Nicolás Cardiel.
In her work, Esther Mármol has shown the usefulness of using spectroscopic observations in the near-infrared K band to face the study of stellar populations in early-type galaxies. As a preliminary work, in this thesis an empirical characterization of the CO index at 2.3 microns has been carried out by observing and compiling a new stellar library in that spectral region (Mármol-Queraltó et al. 2008). Fitting functions providing the behaviour of this index as a function of effective temperature, surface gravity and metallicity have been derived and introduced in the evolutionary synthesis models of Dr. Alexandre Vazdekis. A sample of 12 field early-type galaxies were spectroscopically observed with VLT, and the results have been compared with a similar sample of galaxies from the Fornax cluster recently published by Silva et al. (2008). The work of Esther Mármol has unequivocally shown a clear dichotomy between both galaxy samples, which has been interpreted as differences in the corresponding star formation histories.