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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Center for Theoretical Astrophysics

Focusing on a broad range of computational astrophysics topics


Rendering of a smooth particle hydrodynamics calculation of two white dwarfs merging

Rendering of a smooth particle hydrodynamics calculation of two white dwarfs merging

Center for Theoretical Astrophysics: collaborative science

The Center for Theoretical Astrophysics spans a wide range of divisions and directorates. Core scientists reside in the following divisions:

In turn, they work on collaborations with scientists in these divisions:

The Lab has roughly 50 active astrophysicists; 80% of them are permanent staff.

Research Areas
  • Cosmology and the first stars: Cosmology calculations using a broad range of tools (e.g., ENZO and Gadget), focused on studying the formation of the first stars and black holes
  • Active galactic nuclei: Evolution of massive black holes, studying both radiation and magneto-hydrodynamic effects
  • Star and planet formation: Formation of the solar system, extra-solar planets.
  • Engines behind transients: Thermonuclear and core-collapse supernovae, gamma-ray burst, and x-ray burst engines.
  • Nuclear astrophysics: Understanding the behavior of matter and nuclear densities and applying these effects (neutrinos, equations of state) to supernova models
  • Nucleosynthesis: Yields from stars and supernovae, nuclear cross-sections (tying to experiment), galactic chemical evolution
  • Supernova remnants: Following the engine through the remnant phase, effects of NLTE opacities, and magneto-hydrodynamics
  • Emission from astrophysical transients: Modeling spectra and light-curves, radiation-hydrodynamics effects, atomic physics
  • Cosmic rays: Generation and propagation of cosmic rays from gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. Ties to a number of missions (e.g., HAWC, NuSTAR).
  • Experimental astrophysics: Many of the fields leverage laboratory experiments in plasma physics, turbulence, radiation transport, nuclear, and atomic physics.
Physics Outreach

Hands-on physics with young scientists

Initially part of a Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation Grant for second-graders, Nicole Lloyd-Ronning has developed a six-lesson series of hands-on physics activities for elementary school classes.*

Lloyd-Ronning visits classrooms around the district, leading the children in experiments investigating:

  • electric and magnetic forces
  • gravity and black holes
  • light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum sound
  • our sun and solar system
  • comets and more

*Featured in the Los Alamos Daily Post and the Los Alamos Monitor

Scientist Ambassador Academy

Lloyd-Ronning is also part of the Scientist Ambassador Academy program run by the Bradbury Science Museum. The program engages a wide range of discussions about the science and research activities happening at the Laboratory. She has participated in numerous public outreach events, talking with people from age 3 to 93 about how astronomers use the entire electromagnetic spectrum to learn about the universe.

Student and Community Outreach

A subset of the astrophysics team is running a community education class geared toward all community members (including high school and college students) interested in science, in which the students work in teams on current, open-ended astrophysical research problems. The goal of the class is to give students a taste of what it is like to be a professional scientist (as well as learn about interesting, cool topics in modern astrophysics!) and welcomes all who are interested, regardless of their math and science backgrounds. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:15am at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos.

  • Paul Bradley (XCP-6)
  • Joe Carlson (T-2)
  • Vincenzo Cirigliano (T-2)
  • Aaron Couture (P-27)
  • Brenda Dingus (P-23)
  • Josh Dolence (CCS-2)
  • Jennifer Donley (XTD-PRI)
  • Wes Even (CCS-2)
  • Chris Fontes (XCP-5)
  • Lucy Frey (XCP-1)
  • Chris Fryer (CCS-2)
  • Stefano Gandolfi (T-2)
  • Fan Guo (T-2)
  • Galen Gisle (XTD-IDA)
  • Joyce Guzik (XTD-BTA)
  • Pat Harding (P-23)
  • Aimee Hungerford (XCP-DO)
  • Candace Joggerst (XTD-PRI)
  • Jarrett Johnson (XTD-PRI)
  • Toshihiko Kawano (T-2)
  • Brendan Krueger (XCP-2)
  • Hye Young Lee (P-27)
  • Hui Li (T-2)
  • Nicole Lloyd-Ronning (CCS-2)
  • Chris Malone (XCP-1)
  • Zach Medin (XCP-2)
  • Peter Moller (T-2)
  • Michael Murillo (CCS-2)
  • Katie Mussack (XTD-IDA)
  • Andy Nelson (XCP-2)
  • Cathy Plesko (XTD-NTA)
  • Kathy Prestridge (P-23)
  • Bob Robey (XCP-2)
  • Joe Smidt (XTD-IDA)
  • Terrance Strother (XTD-IDA)
  • Patrick Talou (T-2)
  • Tom Vestrand (ISR-2)
  • Rod Whitaker (EES-17)
  • Przemyk Wozniak (ISR-2)
  • Allan Wollaber (CCS-2)
  • Jeff Haack (CCS-2)
  • Oleg Korobkin (CCS-2)
  • Irina Sagert (XTD-IDA)
  • Ryan Wollaeger (CCS-2)
  • Sydney Andrews (T-CNLS)
  • Austin Davis (P-23)
  • Laura Elgin (XTD-IDA)
  • Ebraheem Farag (XTD-IDA)
  • Forrest Glines (XTD-IDA)
  • Cole Kendrick (XCP-2)
  • Katie Kosak (XTD-NTA)
  • Elizabeth Lovegrove (XCP-1)
  • Hugh Morgan (XTD-NTA)
  • Woody VanDervort (XTD-IDA)
  • Brandon Wiggins (CCS-2)

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