Credit: EAGLE project and SDSS Consortium

Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Theoretical research in galaxy formation at MPA uses a variety of techniques, ranging from direct numerical simulations to analytic and semi-analytic modelling.  In addition, we are involved in the construction of large observational surveys and in the development of advanced data analysis tools.

Senior scientists

Guinevere Kauffmann

Guinevere Kauffmann

Kauffmann was born in 1968 in Pasadena, California to parents of German-Jewish and Chinese descent, and  obtained a BSc(Hons) in applied mathematics and a MSc in astronomy at the University of Cape Town in 1990. She completed her Ph.D in astrophysics at the University of Cambridge in 1993.

After being employed at UC Berkeley, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, she became head of a research team at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in 2003.

In 2007, Dr Kauffmann received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research.  In 2009, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In April 2010, she was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, with the Cross of Merit.  In 2010, she was elected to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.  In 2012, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.  As of 2013, she is one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

Her areas of research interest include the development of semi-analytic models of galaxy formation, the analysis of observed properties of galaxies including active galactic nucleii, large spectroscopic surveys of galaxies, and development of effective techniques for connecting galaxy formation models to observations.

Simon White
is interested in the detailed structure of the dark matter distribution, and in understanding how the physical processes regulating galaxy formation are reflected in the scaling relations, clustering and evolution of the galaxy population.
Thorsten Naab
simulates the formation of individual galaxies and their interstellar medium and is particularly interested in improving the numerical represention of the complex processes driving galaxy-scale feedback from star formation and AGN activity.
Volker Springel

Volker Springel

works on new techniques in computational astrophysics and applies them to non-linear cosmic structure formation, the regulation of galaxy and star formation through feedback processes from supernovae and supermassive black holes, the intergalactic medium, and to different models of dark matter and dark energy.

Group Members

Anand, Abhijeet
PhD student
  • 2298
Arrigoni Battaia, Fabrizio
Scientific Staff
  • 2288
Personal Homepage
Ayromlou, Mohammadreza
PhD student
  • 2248
Personal Webpage
Bieri, Rebekka
  • 2014
Enzi, Wolfgang
PhD student
  • 2248
Frigo, Matteo
  • 2031
Grand, Robert
  • 2316
Hislop, Jessica
PhD student
  • 2012
Jarvis, Miranda
PhD student
  • ESO
ESO Webpage
Kauffmann, Guinevere
  • 2013
Munoz Elgueta, Nahir
PhD student
  • 2001
Nelson, Dylan
  • 2251
Okalidis, Periklis
PhD student
  • 2298
Rathjen, Tim-Eric
PhD student
  • 2009
Yates, Robert
  • 2022
Personal webpage


GALFORMOD Web Services for Galaxy Formation model - The goal of Galformod is to develop and release powerful and flexible modeling tools that can simulate the evolution of the galaxy population in all viable cosmologies and under a wide variety of assumptions about the governing physical processes.

ATLAS 3D - ATLAS3D is an integral field unit (IFU) survey of 260 early-type galaxies within the local (42Mpc) volume.

GASS - The GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey  is a survey designed to measure the neutral hydrogen content of a representative sample of ~1000 massive, galaxies, uniformly selected from the SDSS spectroscopic and GALEX imaging surveys.

COLD GASS - contains accurate and homogeneous molecular gas masses for a subset of 350 galaxies from the GASS sample COLD GASS.

Apertif - Apertif aims to increase the field of view of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) by a factor 25, enabling large HI surveys of the nearby universe to be carried out.

PFS - PFS is a fiber fed spectrograph system with a fiber positioner system designed to be mounted at the prime focus of the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, and feeding 4 fixed spectrographs. PFS will allow simultaneous spectral observations of up to 2400 astronomical targets.

MaNGA - Unlike previous SDSS surveys which measured spectra only at the centers of target galaxies, MaNGA  bundles sets of optical fibers into tightly-packed arrays, enabling spectral measurements across the face of each of ~10,000 nearby galaxies.SDSS-IV ManGA survey

EAGLE - EAGLE project (Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments) is a very large N-body + hydrodynamics simulation aimed at understanding how galaxies form and evolve.

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