Associate Professor of Physics

Professor Vogelsberger grew up in Germany, and received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Mainz and his Ph.D from the University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in 2010, advised by Prof. Simon D.M. White. In 2009 he won the Rudolf Kippenhahn Prize for his thesis work. He was an ITC postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 2009-2012, and a Hubble fellow from 2012-2013.  In 2014, Dr.  Vogelsberger joined the MIT physics faculty as Assistant Professor. In 2016 he won an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Physics.

Professor Vogelsberger is a theoretical astrophysicist whose research interests broadly cover structure and galaxy formation, dark matter physics and large-scale hydrodynamical simulations. He makes extensive use of numerical simulations using state-of-the-art high-performance supercomputers around the world.

Cosmology and galaxy formation recently entered their golden age with an enormous amount of observational data becoming available. This allows detailed tests of theories of structure formation in the Universe. The combination of ever more sophisticated observations, theoretical models, and powerful supercomputer simulations have led to a better understanding of how galaxies and structure in the Universe have formed. Cosmological galaxy formation simulations play a crucial role in this process. Vogelsberger has been the main architect of the Illustris simulation (, the most detailed galaxy formation simulation to date containing more than 40,000 galaxies whose properties closely match observational data. This simulation has been the first of its kind showing clear diversity in the galaxy population. Professor Vogelsberger is also developing new methods to extend and improve current galaxy formation models.  He has been working on new numerical techniques to model anisotropic thermal conduction in galaxy clusters, the large-scale properties of cosmological magnetic fields, and first self-consistent models of cosmic dust within galaxy formation simulations.

Vogelsberger also explores dark matter scenarios beyond cold dark matter by performing and developing new simulations of alternative dark matter models. His models of self-interacting dark matter are able to solve small-scale problems of the cold dark matter paradigm while at the same time not violating any observational constraints.  Recently, he has developed a new effective framework, ETHOS – effective theory for structure formation, to study alternative dark matter models much more efficiently with simulations by mapping detailed particle physics models to effective structure formation parameters.

Research Areas:

Galaxy Formation

Computational Astrophysics

Dark Matter Physics