Astrophysics and Cosmology

Thirteen full-time faculty members in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Penn are joined by staff, postdocs, and students in research on astrophysics and cosmology. 

Major areas of research include: theories of the very early universe; approaches to cosmic acceleration, including modified gravity; cosmological parameter estimation, including the properties of dark matter and dark energy, and their influence on the formation of galaxies; the nonlinear growth of structure in the Universe; the evolution of galaxies through the epoch of reionization and into the recent era; mm and sub-mm observations of star and galaxy formation and galaxy clusters; detection of planets around nearby stars; and observations of the Solar System beyond Neptune. We address these questions by developing new instrumentation in the optical, mm, and sub-mm regimes, observations from the radio through x-ray, analysis of large survey datasets, computation and simulation, and theory.  

There is close collaboration between the astrophysics groups and Penn researchers conducting laboratory searches for dark matter, and theoretical studies of gravitational and dark-sector physics. Penn researchers have major roles in many collaborative astronomical projects. Ongoing projects include the Sloan Digital Sky Survey; Dark Energy Survey; Atacama Cosmology Telescope; Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope; and the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization. Near-future projects include the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, and the Euclid spacecraft.

Interested students and postdocs are encouraged to contact the faculty about research opportunities.