Andrew Benson

Staff Scientist

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science

I am a Staff Scientist 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.

Building a Predictive Model of Galaxy Formation

In this paper, I use an extremely simple galaxy formation model, and a single constraint - the z=0 stellar mass function of galaxies. What sets this study apart from previous, similar studies, is that I attempt to carefully quantify sources of random and systematic error in both the data and the model, and to account for these when constructing the model likelihood function. For example, I compute the full covariance matrix of the stellar mass function, which turns out to look like this (well, technically this is the correlation matrix). Read the paper...

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Page last updated Saturday, July 5, 2014.