Faculty Type: 
Active Faculty
Associate Professor
Additional Titles: 
Nina C. Crocker Faculty Scholar in the Humanities and Sciences

Physics and Astrophysics Bldg
Rm. 211
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4060

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Research interests

How did structure form in the universe? How do galaxies form and how can they be used to understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy?

Professor Wechsler uses theoretical models and massive numerical simulations to understand how quantum fluctuations in the early universe develop into the galaxies and structures of galaxies that we see today. Most of this work is conducted in the context of the cold dark matter model for structure formation, which predicts that galaxies and galaxy clusters were built from smaller galaxies that collided and merged. Professor Wechsler’s work has recently concentrated on understanding the connection between this cold dark matter, which is thought to comprise about 85 percent of the mass in the universe, and the visible light that can be detected by telescopes.

Professor Wechsler is also engaged in the largest existing and future galaxy surveys that are being pursued to learn about the nature of dark energy and dark matter and the physics of galaxy formation. She is a founding member of the Dark Energy Survey and a member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project, and is the co-Spokesperson for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument collaboration.  Over the next 15 years, these galaxy surveys will map billions of galaxies over the entire sky. Her theoretical work with these surveys will be crucial for interpreting the observations and using them to test the current cosmological paradigm and to disentangle the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

Current areas of focus:

- formation of large-scale structure in the Universe
- galaxy formation
- dark matter
- dark energy

Career History

  • Ph.D., Physics, UC Santa Cruz, 2001
  • S.B., Physics, MIT, 1996
  • Research Fellow, University of Michigan, 2001-2003
  • Hubble Fellow, University of Chicago, Kavli Insitute for Cosmological 
    Physics, 2003-2006
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford Physics, SLAC, KIPAC, 2006-2013
  • Associate Profeesor, Stanford Physics, SLAC, KIPAC, 2013-present

Honors and Awards

  • Hellman Faculty Scholar, Stanford, 2008
  • Terman Fellow, Stanford, 2006-2012
  • Arthur H. Compton Lecturer, Enrico Fermi Institute, Spring 2005
  • Hubble Fellowship, NASA/STScI, 2003 – 2006
  • Fermi Fellowship, Enrico Fermi Institute, 2003 – 2005