Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics Theory

Cosmology and astrophysics probe physics on the very largest scales, endeavoring to understand the history and evolution of the universe along with attempting to reveal the fundamental mechanismsbehind its diverse and fascinating constituents. Astroparticle physics seeks to uncover the nature of the participants (elementary particles) and their fundamental interactions on the very smallest scales. 



The physics department’s Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics Theory group addresses cutting edge problems on both  scales, using the universe to learn about fundamental particle physics and employing what is learned from particle physics to provide a better understanding of the universe and the objects in it. Members of this group, all of whom have joint appointments in the Department of Astronomy, work very closely with their astronomy colleagues, as well as with the  physics department’s experimental astroparticle physics group.


Building on the wealth of observational data accumulated in recent years, the group explores issues of the early evolution of the universe, such as “inflation,” the production and survival of relics from the Big Bang, synthesis of the elements in the first few minutes, connections between the currently observed large scale structure of the universe and the tiny temperature anisotropies in the Cosmic Background Radiation and the nature of “dark Energy.” It is also interested in the more recent evolution of the universe, from star formation and supernovae, to dark matter in the Milky Way and its environs. The observed high energy cosmic rays, gamma rays and neutrinos reveal the presence of galactic and extragalactic cosmic accelerators that directly affect the structure and evolution of the galaxy and the universe and that provide new laboratories for exploring physics at the very highest energies and energy densities. The group is very involved in the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP),

Cosmology and Astroparticle Theory faculty

Dr. Beacom
John F. Beacom, Professor
PhD, University of Wisconsin, 1997
Neutrinos in astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics and nuclear physics
Gamma-ray astronomy, cosmic rays, dark matter and other aspects of particle and nuclear astrophysics
Dr. Hirata
Christopher M. Hirata, Professor
PhD, Princeton University, 2005
Theory and astrophysics of cosmological probes
Cosmic recombination
Weak gravitational lensing
Dr. Peter
Annika Peter, Assistant Professor
PhD, Princeton University, 2008
Dark matter astrophysics
Particle physics
Dynamics of the Milky Way
Dwarf sperodial galaxies
Solar system
Dr. Walker
Terry Walker, Professor
PhD, Indiana University, 1988
Neutrino astrophysics
Dark matter candidates and their detection
Big Bang nucleosynthesis


In Memoriam 4/9/17:

Dr. Steigman

Gary Steigman, Emeritus Professor
PhD, New York University, 1968
Cosmology and the early evolution of the universe
Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the primordial abundances of elements
Constraints on the properties of the standard models of cosmology and particle physics