Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics

The Center for Astro, Particle, and Planetary Physics at NYU Abu Dhabi is an alliance of faculty and scholars actively involved in research in astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and particle physics. It includes faculty members from the physics and the mathematics programs at NYUAD, members of the Center for Space Science, and faculty from the NYU Global Network, specifically several faculty from the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at NYU New York.

The Center possesses the unique possibility of tackling fundamental questions in astrophysics, astroparticle physics and planetary physics from several points of view, combining state-of-the-art observational data from the ground and space on the nature of visible and invisible matter, with detailed theoretical and numerical modeling from planets to galaxies, and linking them together cohesively.

The goal of the Center will be to work toward providing answers to a series of fundamental questions related to the composition and evolution of our universe, such as:

  • Everything in the universe is made of fundamental particles. What are the types of particles that comprise the universe? How can we detect them? What are the laws of physics that govern the creation and interaction of these particles?
  • What is the behavior of such an extensive collection of particles? How does it change in different physical conditions? What are the implications of this behavior for other disciplines?
  • The fundamental particles of the universe aggregate in our galaxy in a series of very diverse components: from the dark matter halo, to the supermassive black hole at the galactic center; from diffuse components (gas, magnetic fields, relativistic particles) to very well-defined ones like stars and planets and the end-products of stellar evolution (neutron stars and black holes). How do these different components interact with each other? What role do they play in the formation and evolution of our galaxy? What does this imply for the past and future formation of stars and planets?
  • How did stars and galaxies form in the ever-changing universe? How does the evolution of our universe depend on the physical laws that govern the behavior of the constituent fundamental particles, both dark and visible? Conversely, what can galaxies tell us about the dark constituents on our universe? What, ultimately, is the fate of our universe?

Research Clusters

The Center has organized itself around four interconnected and interdisciplinary research clusters that encompass a range of topics, from elementary particles to planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole.  These clusters will not only overlap in their science goals but also in the methodology used (e.g., numerical simulations) and in taking advantage of sharing state-of-the-art experimental and observational data. They are connected as a continuum to other research activities at NYUAD.

Center Research Clusters

  • Astroparticle Physics
  • Earth and Planetary Science
  • Galaxy Components
  • Cosmology

All researchers associated with the Center will be involved with more than one cluster. We will make strategic hires (senior researchers and faculty) at the boundary of these clusters to strengthen the collaborations amongst the Center researchers.

Researcher Spotlight

Mind Over Dark Matter

Professor Andrea Macciò has been searching his entire life for something that science knows is there but has never seen.


Andrea Macciò
Associate Professor Physics, Head of Physics Program
Francesco Arneodo
Associate Dean of Science, Associate Professor of Physics

David Russell
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ian Dobbs-Dixon
Assistant Professor of Physics