Center for Astrophysics

Great progress has been made in Astrophysics at Notre Dame. This area couples naturally into Notre Dame’s involvement with the Large Binocular Telescope and the Steward Observatory facilities. This area also includes nuclear astrophysics (e.g. nucleosynthesis in the early universe and in supernovae) and particle astrophysics (e.g. missing mass in universe). The Center for Astrophysics at Notre Dame University (CANDU) serves as a focus for this effort.

Some of the projects currently being worked on by the Center’s members include:

  • Dinshaw Balsara -- computational applications in the areas of interstellar medium, turbulence, star formation, planet formation, the physics of accretion disks, compact objects, and relativistic astrophysics
  • Timothy Beers -- the origin and evolution of the elements of the Universe, and the assembly of large spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way. He has designed and executed large-scale surveys of stars in the Milky way, efficiently sifting through literally millions of individual stars in order to find rare objects that illuminate the early chemical evolution of our Universe.
  • Jeff Chilcote -- a specialist in the construction of infrared astronomical instruments and direct imaging of extra solar planets
  • Justin Crepp -- development of new technologies to detect and study planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, called exoplanets
  • Peter Garnavich -- the study of supernovae and their diversity
  • J. Christopher Howk -- work to understand the evolution of the gaseous components of galaxies and the build up of elements since the Big Bang
  • Nicolas Lehner -- research focuses on understanding the physical processes that drive and regulate the growth of galaxies
  • Grant Mathews (Director of CANDU) -- various aspects of nuclear and particle astrophysics and cosmology including numerical simulations of core collapse supernovae, studies of neutrino interactions and nucleosynthesis in supernovae, as well as various aspects of the Big Bang including constraints from Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the cosmic microwave background on the origin and evolution of the universe, the early moments of the inflating universe, constraints on massive particles and their decay in the early universe, constraints on time-dependent fundamental constants in the early universe, studies of galaxy formation and their chemical evolution along with studies of general relativist hydrodynamics, stellar evolution, and merging binary neutron stars.
  • Lan Q. Nguyen -- studies of sources of gravitational radiation and effects of dark matter and dark energy on structure formation
  • Lara Arielle Phillips -- the interplay between galaxies and the largest structures in the Universe.
  • Rebecca Surman -- theoretical/computational nuclear astrophysics with a particular interest in the origins of the heaviest elements