Overview

Andrew Benson's research focuses on modeling the formation and evolution of galaxies. The primary aim of Benson’s research program is to develop a detailed and, most importantly, quantitative model of galaxy formation based upon known physical laws rather than empirical rules.

Our empirical knowledge of galaxy formation is rapidly becoming quantitatively precise, and so has the potential to strongly discriminate between theoretical ideas regarding the formation and evolution of galaxies. Unfortunately, the required confrontation of theory with observations cannot occur at present as our ability to analytically model galaxy formation is currently restricted to making predictions accurate only to within "factors of a few."

Progress can only be made therefore by developing a model of galaxy formation which incorporates the relevant physics in detail and which strives to solve that physics to high accuracy. These goals require the use of state-of-the-art models of galaxy formation, both N-body and phenomenological (a.k.a. "semi-analytical").

Over the past few years he has developed a novel, open source semi-analytic model of galaxy formation, Galacticus, which represents a new and unique approach to the problem. Galacticus is now arguably the most advanced and detailed analytic model of galaxy formation available.

Timeline

Andrew Benson's Astronomy Lecture at the Huntington

Shedding Light on the Nature of Dark Matter

CV

Recent Publications