Astrophysics, Gravitation, and Cosmology

What is Astrophysics?

Astrophysics is the study of celestial objects such as galaxies, stars, black holes, planets, exoplanets, the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy. The study of cosmology is theoretical astrophysics at scales much larger than the size of particular gravitationally-bound objects in the universe.

Astrophysicists have contributed many important insights to our understanding of the universe we live in. They have discovered the approximate age and size of our universe, theorize how long our sun will last before it exhausts its nuclear fuel (dies), discover what the universe looked like billions of years ago, temperatures of planets, shapes of galaxies and the way that matter is distributed across the observable universe.

What are we doing in Astrophysics at Illinois?

The Center for Theoretical Astrophysics encompasses many different groups studying various aspects of astrophysics. The Illinois Relativity group focuses on the application of Einstein's theory of general relativity to forefront problems in relativistic astrophysics. The development and application of numerical relativity to tackle problems by computational means are major activities. The merger of binary compact objects (including binary black holes) and the generation of gravitational waves are areas of great interest.

The Cosmology group researches topics including but not limited to properties of clusters, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, extragalactic astronomy, the early universe, structure formation and the properties of dark matter and dark energy. Our work on the last three topics is being done in collaboration with the high energy physics group.

The Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics group is dedicated to the study of problems in astrophysics requiring numerical modeling where they often employ parallel computing.

Astrophysics at U. of I. is also pursued in the Department of Astronomy. All of the Physics faculty in astrophysics work closely with their colleagues in the Department of Astronomy and many have joint appointments.


Peter John Adshead
Assistant Professor
    Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
    237D Loomis Laboratory
    (217) 244-7862
    Neal Krishnakant Dalal
    Faculty Affiliate
      Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
      224 Astronomy Building
      (217) 333-9239
      Brian David Fields
      Professor of Astronomy
        Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
        216 Astronomy Building
        (217) 333-5529
        Jeffrey P. Filippini
        Assistant Professor
          Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
          405 Loomis Laboratory
          (217) 244-4820
          Charles Forbes Gammie
            Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
            235 Loomis Laboratory
            (217) 333-8646
            Gilbert  Holder
              Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
              237C Loomis Laboratory
              (217) 300-4612
              Stuart L. Shapiro
                Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
                237A Loomis Laboratory
                (217) 333-5427
                Jessie Shelton
                Assistant Professor
                  High Energy Physics
                  417 Loomis Laboratory
                  (217) 244-7914
                  Joaquin Daniel Vieira
                  Faculty Affiliate
                    Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
                    229 Astronomy Building
                    (217) 244-6795