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 dark energy, 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 the research page for more details.

We are core members of the FIRE (Feedback In Realistic Environments) cosmological simulation project, as part of which we develop 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.

Our group has close ties with scientists at other Chicagoland research institutes working in cosmological structure formation, including at The University of Chicago, Fermilab, and Argonne National Lab.

Rendering of one of our galaxy simulations (credit: Alex Gurvich).

Opportunities: – Postdoc positions are available in theoretical galaxy formation broadly defined, including star formation, galaxy-black hole co-evolution, the intergalactic medium, and cosmology. Candidates can simultaneously apply for the Postdoctoral Associate positions and the CIERA Fellowship. In the case of overlapping interests, joint appointments with the cosmology group at Argonne National Lab or with the theoretical astrophysics group at Fermilab are possible. We are also happy to host fellows with external support, such as the Hubble, Einstein, NSF fellowships.

– Exciting opportunities are available for graduate students and postdocs to work jointly between Northwestern and Argonne on projects at the intersection of cosmology, galaxy formation, and high-performance computing. The Northwestern-Argonne collaboration is facilitated by NAISE. Prospective Northwestern students interested in this collaboration, which would involve spending substantial time at Argonne, are encouraged to contact us. Students can apply for the Northwestern Physics PhD and Astronomy PhD programs here. Note: the Physics GRE is not required for the Astronomy PhD.

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