Picture of the milky way

Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series: “Simulating the Universe”

The 2017-2018 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series continues today (Dec. 14) from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Mark Vogelsberger from MIT will present “Simulating the Universe.”

About the lecture

Modern supercomputer simulations model the evolution of the universe starting briefly after the Big Bang until today—spanning about 13.7 billion years. These simulations describe the growth, structure and composition of galaxies.

Vogelsberger will give an overview of recent simulation efforts, and demonstrate that the virtual universes are nearly indistinguishable from the real universe. But because models are not perfect, Vogelsberger also will show where simulations disagree with observational data and how scientists can improve their models to arrive at a better understanding of the evolution of the universe.

About the speaker

Vogelsberger grew up in Germany, and received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Mainz and his PhD from the University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in 2010, advised by Professor Simon D.M. White. In 2009, he won the Rudolf Kippenhahn Prize for his thesis work.

He was an ITC postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 2009-2012, and a Hubble fellow from 2012-2013. In 2014, Vogelsberger joined the MIT physics faculty as assistant professor. In 2016, he won an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Physics.

Colloquium today

Vogelsberger also will give a colloquium titled “Simulating Galaxy Formation: IllustrisTNG and Beyond” today from 3 to 4 p.m. in Sears Building, Room 552.

In this talk, he will describe recent efforts to model the large-scale distribution of galaxies with cosmological hydrodynamics simulations. He will focus on the Illustris simulation, and the new simulation campaign, the IllustrisTNG project. After demonstrating the success of these simulations in terms of reproducing an enormous amount of observational data, he also will talk about directions for further improvements over the next couple of years.

About the series

In cooperation with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Astronomical Society, the Department of Astronomy—through the support of the Arthur S. Holden Sr. Endowment—is sponsoring the 2017-2018 Frontiers of Astronomy Lecture Series. Renowned astronomers from across the country will give five free lectures throughout the year at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History at 8 p.m.

More information about the series is available at astronomy.case.edu/event-archive/frontiers-of-astronomy/.