Research

The Institute for Computational Science (ICS) currently consists of faculty members working on Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics (in alphabetical order Prof. Feldmann, Prof. Helled, Prof. Lake, Prof. Mayer, Prof. Moore, Prof. Saha, Dr. Stadel, Prof. Teyssier and Prof. Yoo). Our research programs aim at revealing the mysteries of the universe, focusing on different length and time scales. This includes the very beginning of the Universe and its expansion, the formation and evolution of cosmic structures such as galaxies and their dark matter halos and the formation of stars, planets and planetary systems including our own solar system.

Some of the key questions we want to answer include:

  • How did the Universe come to be?
  • What is the fate of the Universe?
  • What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?
  • How do galaxies form and evolve?
  • What is the origin of supermassive black holes?
  • How can we use gravitational waves to study them?
  • How do planets form and evolve?
  • Is there life out there?

Answering these fascinating questions is challenging and requires using sophisticated analytical and numerical methods. Using supercomputers and developing complex software are two important activities in our group. But research in astrophysics is also strongly linked to astronomical observations and space missions. These are used to confirm our theories and predictions and provide many new measurements that are yet to be explained.

The members of ICS are involved in several space missions (e.g., EUCLID, Juno, JUICE, PLATO) as well as in large collaborative projects in Switzerland (NCCR-PlanetS, SINERGIA). Members of the ICS have also access to supercomputing facilities, both at the University of Zürich but also at the Swiss supercomputing center in Lugano. Students studying at ICS have the opportunity to develop analytical and numerical skills, and a critical way of thinking that can be used both in science and in industry.