Welcome to the website of Markus Kromer! These pages are dealing with my former work as an astrophysicist.

About me

I grew up in the beautiful town of Reutlingen in the heart of the Swabian Jura. I obtained my physics diploma from Tübingen University in 2006 and then moved on to Technical University Munich to pursue a PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) in Garching. After completing my thesis in 2009, I have worked as a postdoctoral fellow at MPA for almost four years. In 2013, I have obtained an Oskar Klein Fellowship from the Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University and joined their Department of Astronomy. In 2016, I moved on to the  Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg  (ZAH) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) where I worked as a Gliese fellow.

About my research

Almost all our current knowledge of the objects in the Universe originates from their electro-magnetic emission we observe. To interpret the wealth of information in these data and link them to astrophysical objects requires radiative transfer models. Due to the complex nature of the radiative transfer problem this involves numerical simulations on high-performance computing systems. The application and further development of such computational radiative transfer methods to link astronomical observations and theoretical astrophysics is my main research interest.

In particular, I am using radiative transfer models to investigate supernova explosions. These dramatic events mark the final phases in the lives of stars and are important for astrophysics for several reasons. Supernovae form the cosmic cauldrons in which the heavy elements are synthesized and they expel this material to their surroundings. Thus, supernovae are key contributors to the chemical evolution of the Universe. The shock waves that supernovae drive into the interstellar medium influence star formation and galaxy evolution. Moreover, owing to their tremendous luminosity, supernovae can be used to probe the distant Universe.

Currently, I am leading research projects that aim to unravel the nature of a particular class of supernovae (so called Type Ia supernovae) by comparing synthetic light curves and spectra from first-principle explosion models to observed data. To obtain synthetic observables I run my 3D time-dependent Monte Carlo radiative transfer code ARTIS on some of the fastest supercomputers that are currently available. I have developed ARTIS during my PhD work at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics together with Dr. Stuart Sim (now Queen’s University Belfast). ARTIS solves the time-dependent multi-dimensional multi-wavelength radiative transfer problem in supernova ejecta. It is capable of deriving synthetic observables for multi-dimensional hydrodynamical explosion models from first principles and treats the spectrum formation from gamma-rays to ultraviolet-optical-infrared wavelengths in detail.

I am also involved in observational efforts like the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects (PESSTO) and I have been a member of the Nearby Supernova Factory collaboration during my time at MPA.

For more details on my research projects look here.