Experimental and Observational
The University of Chicago is a major center for interdisciplinary research in observational astrophysics. Members of the Department of Physics work in close collaboration with members of the the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Research in experimental astrophysics is organized under the Enrico Fermi Institute. Groups that are involved in experimental astrophysics research include members of the Michelson Center for Physics (MCP) and the High Energy Physics group (HEP). Current areas of research include high energy gamma-ray astrophysics with atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes; development of giant air shower array (Auger Project) for investigation of the highest energy cosmic rays; development of large detectors for high energy cosmic rays on space and balloon payloads; experimental investigations of cosmic ray electrons and of the elemental and isotopic abundances of cosmic-ray nuclei over a wide energy range; investigations of solar, magnetospheric, and heliospheric phenomena with satellite and deep space missions; development of instruments to detect polarization in the far-infrared emission from interstellar clouds; investigation of the magnetic field structure of dense cloud cores; airborne and mountain-top polarimetry; direct searches for non-baryonic dark matter.
Theoretical and Computational
The University of Chicago is a leader in interdisciplinary research in theoretical astrophysics including connections to particle physics, general relativity, and computational physics. Collaboration with the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics is organized under the Enrico Fermi Institute. We have close ties to the ASCI Flash Center at Chicago, which carries out numerical studies of astrophysical thermonuclear flashes. Current research topics include the nature of dark matter, plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamics, ultra-high energy cosmic ray processes, solar and stellar astrophysics, and astrophysical fluid dynamics.