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New chair for cosmology

This fall, the Excellence Cluster Universe has established a new chair for cosmology and structure formation at the Universitätssternwarte of LMU (USM). With this chair the Cluster completes an important field of research in its program. The Universe Cluster is pleased that Joseph (Joe) Mohr from the University of Illinois in Urbana has accepted this professorship. In his former position, Mohr was professor at the Department of Astronomy and the Department of Physics, and a Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Even though Joe Mohr only arrived in Munich a couple of months ago, his group is almost complete and already engaged in research. Joe Mohr’s research within the Cluster will focus on the South Pole Telescope (SPT), the Dark Energy Survey (DES) and e-ROSITA.

The SPT is a millimeter-wave instrument operating at the South Pole that is designed to search the Universe for galaxy clusters, the most massive collapsed structures in the universe that serve as markers of the evolution of cosmic structure. The DES, another international project, is a next generation optical sky survey aimed at understanding the nature of the cosmic acceleration, a phenomenon that may be due to the existence of Dark Energy. E-ROSITA is a German-Russian collaborative venture to survey the entire sky in X-ray, delivering large samples of galaxy clusters and active galactic nuclei (AGN: accreting black holes) for the study of structure evolution and cosmology. Combining these three datasets will enable a study of cosmic acceleration and the growth of structure that is unlike any previously undertaken.

Joe Mohr is currently a co-leader of the Dark Energy Survey galaxy cluster science working group and project scientist of the DES Data Management, which is a software development project to create the system needed to handle the DES data, which will become available in October 2011. As the search for Dark Energy is crucial to its research program, the Cluster is seeking full institutional membership in DES. Therefore, the Cluster will finance filters for the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), ensuring adequate quality of this instrument to achieve its scientific goal.

 “It’s really a pleasure and an honor to join the scientists at the Excellence Cluster Universe and more broadly here in Munich in their work on some of the fundamental physical questions facing us today”, says Joe Mohr. “The combination of scientific talent and research resources here in the Munich astrophysics community is only rivaled by one or two other research centers in the world.  It’s really been great to join this effort, and I am quite confident that the road ahead leads to many exciting new science results!”

Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Exzellenzcluster Universe

Boltzmannstr. 2
D-85748 Garching

Tel. + 49 89 35831 - 7100
Fax + 49 89 3299 - 4002