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Nina Hernitschek

Postdoctoral Fellow, Data Science Institute & Department of Physics and Astronomy


Beginning fall 2019, I’m a Data Science Institute (DSI) postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University. Previously, I was a postdoc in the Department of Astronomy at Caltech working with Judith G. Cohen on tidal streams and the Galactic halo.

I received my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in physics from University of Heidelberg, Germany, and my Ph.D. in astrophysics from International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy/ University of Heidelberg in spring 2017.

I’m interested a lot in the dynamical history of our Milky Way – especially halo formation and the disruption of globular clusters and satellites – , which can tell us a lot about galaxy evolution in general. As part of my research, I develop methods for handling large time-domain astronomical survey datasets. In my Ph.D., I developed highly parallelized astrostatistical and machine-learning methods for fast and reliable detection and classification of variable astronomical sources in general, including RR Lyrae stars and quasars from the Pan-STARRS survey. In my Postdoctoral research, I started using these selected star distributions to further constrain the shape of our Milky Way, and to conduct a subsequent spectroscopically follow-up survey conducted with Keck and Magellan telescopes (The Caltech/Carnegie Survey of the Outer Halo of the Milky Way). Here, I will continue this research and also apply big data and machine learning approaches to mult-survey data to do research on our Universe’s Dark Matter distribution, especially Near Field Cosmology.

For current research, see my publication list on my homepage.


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