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Theoretical Astrophysics

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian Theoretical Astrophysics (TA) division uses theoretical models and computer simulations to understand a variety of fundamental astrophysical phenomena.

Advances in astrophysics come through the interplay of observational discoveries and theoretical interpretations. The Theoretical Astrophysics (TA) Division at the Center for Astrophysics conducts field-leading research through the synthesis of expertise in theoretical and computational modeling with empirical data from the Center for Astrophysics’ observational and experimental divisions.

The TA Division is composed of Harvard Astronomy Faculty, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Scientists, and extensive cohorts of postdoctoral researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students. The TA division pursues excellence through the diversity of ideas and individuals involved in our research agendas. TA researchers are considering questions spanning the breadth of topics in astrophysics from cosmic inflation in the early universe to the possible biomes of exoplanets.

The Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) resides within the TA Division and leads efforts to integrate conceptual theory and computational modeling. The ITC unites Center for Astrophysics researchers around current topics in theoretical astrophysics with a vibrant intellectual life of seminars, group meetings, and colloquia. Additionally, the ITC offers Prize Postdoctoral Fellowships to exceptional candidates working in any field related to theoretical and/or numerical astrophysics. If you are interested in applying, please visit our application page for more information.

The research agenda and personnel of the TA division enjoy extensive overlap with Harvard’s multi-disciplinary Black Hole Initiative (BHI), as well as Harvard’s Departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Statistics.

Computational resources in TA include its cluster, consisting of 24 nodes each with two water cooled Intel 24-core Platinum 8268 Cascade Lake processors with 4 GB of RAM per core, for a total of 192 GB of RAM per node. This gives a total of 1152 cores available for use and 4.6 TB of RAM. The nodes are interconnected with HDR Infiniband and is part of the larger Cannon Infiniband network.