Crosscutting Activities

Computational Astrophysics

High-performance computing is the workhorse of astrophysical research across all of our science themes. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics is the home of world-leaders in astrophysical plasma theory, and we are particularly strong in the areas of high-resolution galaxy formation modeling and modeling of reionization and the intergalactic medium in the early universe. We have access to high-performance computational facilities through the Research Computing Center at the University, and through our connections to Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab

Faculty Research Faculty Scientific Projects

Damiano Caprioli
Fausto Cattaneo
Chihway Chang
Alex Drlica-Wagner
Nick Gnedin
Andrey Kravtsov
Don Lamb
Robert Rosner
Irina Zhuravleva

Vikram Dwarkadas
Brian Nord

Vera Rubin Observatory


Detectors and instrumentation are critical for astronomy and astrophysics. Innovation and development of detector technology enables us to push measurements to higher precision and leads to new, innovative experiments, from the detection of the inflation-produced gravitational wave imprint on CMB polarization to the detection and characterization of exoplanets. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics has a history of building instrumentation, from cosmic microwave background and cosmic-ray experiments to optical and infrared instrumentation, with many scientific opportunities for developing new detectors and advanced instrumentation through our partners in the Institute for Molecular Engineering Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab.

Faculty Research Faculty Scientific Projects

Jacob Bean
Brad Benson
John Carlstrom
Clarence Chang
Steve Meyer
Paolo Privitera
Erik Shirokoff

Andreas Seifahrt

CMB-S4: Next Generation CMB Experiment
Dark Matter in CCDs (DAMIC​)
MAROON-X: Radial Velocity Spectrograph
South Pole Telescope (SPT)

Multi-Messenger Astronomy and Astrophysics

Combining observations across the electromagnetic spectrum with gravitational waves, cosmic rays and neutrinos is essential to answering the big questions being asked within each of our science themes. The power of this multi-messenger approach was illustrated by the recent detection of gravitational waves, gamma-rays, x-rays, light across the entire visible spectrum, infrared radiation and radio waves from the coalescence of two neutron stars in a galaxy 120 million light years away. Our role in this landmark event has its roots in our cross-disciplinary approach to answering big questions that traces back to Fermi and extends to the present with our participation and leadership in the LIGO observations and electromagnetic follow ups. 

Faculty Research Faculty Scientific Projects

Daniel Holz
Angela Olinto

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)
Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA)