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Astrophysics & Astronomy

Astronomical phenomena provide powerful and unique insight into fundamental physics as they occur over energy, time and size scales which are difficult, or impossible to reproduce here on earth. UC Merced has direct access to the famous 10 meter William Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, as well as high performance and super computing facilities. Research areas include:

  • Understanding dark matter through astronomical observations and simulations.
  • Studying how stars form metals and how these metals are distributed throughout galaxies.
  • Learning about how the smallest dwarf galaxies form and evolve throughout cosmic time.
  • Management of large astronomical simulations via distributed database technology, and web interfaces.
  • Using chemistry, ages, position and velocities of stars and star clusters to investigate the dynamic history of the Milky Way stellar disk.

Recent research highlight:  Read about Prof. Nierenberg's recent award of observation time on the JWST.