Phillips Portrait Web


Lara Arielle Phillips

Research Assistant Professor
Astrophysics/Cosmology Theory

B.Sc., McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2003

Address: NSH 337
Phone: (574) 631-4008
Fax: (574) 631-5952

Research Interests

What is a galaxy’s journey in the universe? And how does the neighborhood galaxies live in affect their evolution ?  My group has developed tools to find and characterize structure, specifically filaments, clusters and voids, in large scale simulations and large data sets. From vasculature in the brain to the cosmic web: we  adapted an algorithm that detected vasculature in the brain to find these filaments, clusters and voids. This structure finder, coupled with the capacity to run our own simulations of the universe using Center for Research Computing facilities, allows us to explore the environmental history of galaxies and tackle these questions. We also use these tools to more broadly answer what the shape of the distribution of objects in our universe  (galaxies in large scale structure, stars in galaxies)  tells us about the history of these objects.

Teaching Innovation: During my ten years at Notre Dame, I have developed and taught a wide range of courses for non-majors, majors and graduate students, including "Physics of Civilization," which was tailor-made for Architecture students, and "Science Play" under the aegis of the Provost's Initiative on Team Teaching. And in the past five years, I founded a physics program, complete with labs, at the Westville correctional facility for the Moreau College Initiative. 

Multidisciplinary STEAM Outreach: Our efforts to involve the broader public in science have reached thousands and have led me to collaborate with engineers, musicians, playwrights, lighting designers, directors and dramaturgs. This is particularly true of my membership in and co-production of an international artistic collaboration High Z, a project to create a hybrid installation based on the 2011 Nobel Prize winning discovery of the accelerating universe.

Selected Publications

Coughlin, J., Mathews, G.J., Phillips, L.A., Snedden, A. & Suh, I.-S., Probing Time-Dependent Dark Energy with the Flux Power Spectrum of the Lyman Alpha Forest, ApJ, 874, 11 (2019)

Snedden, A., Coughlin, J., Phillips, L. A., Mathews, G. J., & Suh, I.-S., Star Formation and Gas Phase History of the Cosmic Web, Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. 455, 2804 (2016)

Snedden, A., Phillips, L. A., Mathews, G. J., Coughlin, J., Suh, I.-S., and Bhattacharya, A., A New Multi-Scale Structure Finding Algorithm to Identify Cosmological Structure, J. Comp. Phys, 299, 92 (2015)

Prof. Phillips - CV