The galaxy formation group at Northwestern University is led by Claude-André Faucher-Giguère and part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Our group’s research is driven by the prospect that understanding galaxy formation will provide key insight into several of the most important questions in modern astrophysics, including the origin of structure in the Universe, the nature of dark matter, and the formation of stars and black holes.

We are interested in all aspects of galaxy formation and evolution, including star formation, massive black holes, and connections with the intergalactic medium. We address these problems using a combination of analytic modeling, numerical simulation, and comparison with observations, with an emphasis on expanding our understanding of the fundamental physical processes involved and leveraging data from new astronomical facilities. See our list of publications for an overview of some of the specific problems that we have been working on.

We are a core members of the FIRE (Feedback In Realistic Environments) cosmological simulation project, as part of which we are developing new methods to improve the predictive power of galaxy formation theories. In collaboration with Northwestern’s visualization group, we also develop the Firefly interactive visualization app for particle-based simulations.

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