Andrew Benson

George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science



I am the George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. My research is described in more detail here and my publications are available here. Current projects on which I'm working, together with available projects for prospective postdocs are listed here.
My research program centers around the process of galaxy formation, with a particular emphasis on formlating a coherent picture of the many different aspects of this problem. I have developed a new model of galaxy formation, Galacticus, which is now available to the community as an open source project. The approach blends both analytic understanding and significant number-crunching utilizing in-house and external compute clusters. Galacticus is being used by many research groups to study everything from sub-mm galaxies and galaxy clusters through to the host galaxies of type Ia supernovae. These are just a few examples of the areas of galaxy formation science that it can address.

Research Highlight

In a paper by Bower et al. (2010) I have recently explored the problem of constraining the parameters of a complex model of galaxy formation in a high dimensional (16-D!) space, using emulator techniques that are gaining popularity in statistical studies. Applied to the Galform semi-analytic model of galaxy formation this allows us to find a parameter set which results in a good match to a variety of observational data on galaxies. From there, we can use the model to make robust predictions about as yet unexplored regimes in the Universe.



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Page last updated Saturday, July 5, 2014.