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

Using Galacticus, I explored how limited time resolution in merger trees extracted from N-body simulations can affect the accuracy of galaxy properties in semi-analytic models of galaxy formation. I find that at least 128 timesteps between redshifts 20 and 0 are required to get answers accurate to better than 5% on average. More discussion of why this is important can be found here.



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Page last updated Saturday, July 5, 2014.