Carnegie Mellon University
March 02, 2016

Harvard’s Lars Hernquist To Present Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology, March 15

By Jocelyn Duffy / 412-268-9982 /

World-renowned theoretical and computational astrophysicist Lars Hernquist will present Carnegie Mellon University’s Bennett-McWilliams Lecture in Cosmology at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 15 in the Gates Hillman Center’s Rashid Auditorium. The lecture is hosted by the McWilliams Center for Cosmology.

Hernquist’s lecture, titled “Next-Generation Cosmological Simulations: Galaxy Assembly and Evolution,” is free and open to the public. This is the fourth in a series of lectures funded by Carnegie Mellon alumni Fred Bennett and Bruce McWilliams, both graduates of the Mellon College of Science.

Cosmology Lecture image 
Image from the Illustris Simulation, focusing on a massive cluster. Dark matter density (left) transitions to gas density (right). Credit: Illustris Collaboration/Illustris Simulation

Hernquist, who is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Astrophysics at Harvard, is best known for his theoretical and computational work on galaxy mergers and the formation of cosmological structures. He defined the Hernquist profile, which is used by researchers worldwide to describe the shape of the dark matter content of galaxies.

In his lecture, Hernquist will discuss the new generation of numerical models that are allowing researchers to create accurate simulations of galaxy formation and evolution. He also will discuss how those models can provide new insights into galaxy assembly and the relationship between galaxies and cosmologically distributed baryons.

Hernquist earned his Ph.D. from Caltech in 1984, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UC Berkeley and Princeton University. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1998, and is past-chair of the Astronomy Department. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.