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Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Office Location(s): 3245 Randall
The role of a computational cosmologist is to create high-fidelity numerical simulations of structures in the cosmos, based on physical principles and supported by large-scale computing environments. The ultimate purpose of my work is to produce a deeper understanding of our origins in the physical cosmos.
Structures to a cosmologist are self-gravitating, quasi-equilibrium objects that may range in scale from a globular star cluster with a few million stars through galaxies, like our Milky Way, with tens of billions of stars, on up to the great clusters of galaxies that contain many hundreds of large galaxies like our Milky Way. Detailed comparisons of simulations with observations helps unravel the complex astrophysical processes that affect the visible matter components of the universe. The improved astrophysical understanding allows better use of large-scale, statistical surveys of galaxies and clusters of galaxies to understand dark matter and dark energy. These two mysterious substances account for roughly 95 percent of the present mass-energy density of our universe, yet their relationships to known fundamental physical quantities (particles and fields) remains highly uncertain.
I currently co-lead, with Andrey Kravtsov of Chicago, the simulation working group for the Dark Energy Survey as well as the theory/simulation working group of the XMM-XXL collaboration. I collaborate with Tim McKay on galaxy cluster projects based on the Sloan Digitial Sky Survey and DES. I am also part of a science team planning a future X-ray mission known as the Wide Field X-ray Telescope. Much of my computational research involves collaboration with members of the international Virgo Consortium.
311 West Hall1085 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI