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Stellar Dynamics & Stellar Populations

Globular Clusters, Galactic Nuclei, Stellar Collisions & Mergers, Interacting Binaries

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Stars are among the most numerous objects in the Cosmos, and are the primary objects that make the bulk of larger structures we observe. They are born together, and consequently evolve together, often interacting with a close companion over the course of their lives, or interacting dynamically with many other stars in the dense stellar environments in which they are found. These interactions have profound influence on the long term evolution of stars. In CIERA, we consider numerical and theoretical models of stellar interactions and use them to understand and explain observations of stars across the Milky Way, and in dense stellar systems.

Research at CIERA

The centers of galaxies are complex environments whose properties are a result of the interactions between the massive black holes that reside there, vast clouds of gas, and dense populations of stars and stellar remnants.

Professor Rasio’s group studies numerical models of dense stellar environments such as nuclear star clusters.

Professor Larson’s group studies the interactions of single stars with massive black holes, a prospective LISA gravitational wave source class known as an EMRI (“extreme mass ratio inspiral”).

Professor Zadeh is an observer who studies stellar populations and physical processes in the Milky Way nucleus using observations across the electromagnetic spectrum.


Postdoctoral Fellowship Positions in Astronomy & Astrophysics

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 1, 2020

The Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern University invites applications for CIERA Postdoctoral Fellowships. CIERA Fellows have the opportunity to pursue an independent research program and benefit from a diverse and dynamic intellectual environment.

Postdoctoral Associate Positions in Theoretical Astronomy & Astrophysics

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 1, 2020

Northwestern University expects to offer postdoctoral associate positions in theoretical astronomy and astrophysics starting in fall 2021. These positions will be part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) at Northwestern. Successful applicants will benefit from interaction with a broad interdisciplinary group of researchers and will be immersed in a diverse and dynamic intellectual environment.

Astronomy PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2020

The Northwestern Astronomy PhD is designed to provide students with a broad training in astronomy while enabling them to get started quickly with their graduate research. The Astronomy PhD is a flexible program that allows students to complement their astronomy training with a selection of physics courses or courses from other quantitative disciplines such as

Physics PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2020

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers two different PhD degrees designed to best train students in their chosen discipline. For most branches of physics, students should enroll in the Physics PhD. Students interested in astronomy or astrophysics may apply for the Astronomy PhD. For applications submitted in Fall 2020, GREs (general and physics) are not required.



Core Astronomy Faculty



Graduate Students