• Theoretical Astrophysics Center
  • B-20 Hearst Field Annex #3411
  • UC Berkeley
  • Berkeley, CA, 94720-3411


  • Hearst Field Annex, B-116




  • Skype: mikekuhlen
  • Google+: kuhlen
About Me

I am postdoc in the Astronomy Department at UC Berkeley.

My research interests lie in cosmology. Using both analytical techniques and large-scale numerical simulations I am investigating the physics governing our universe's origin. These days I am particularly interested in the closely related problems of dark matter and dwarf galaxy formation.

Dark Matter

I am a founding member (together with Jürg Diemand and Piero Madau) of the Via Lactea collaboration, which aims to study the formation and evolution of Milky-Way-scale dark matter halos, and especially their clumpy substructure. Utilizing supercomputers Pleiades (NAS) and Jaguar (NCCS), we have conducted some of the highest-resolution dark matter simulations ever performed.

The Via Lactea II simulation was featured as one of the "Top Ten Breakthroughs in Computational Science" in the 2009 DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research report (pdf).

A projection of dark matter structure in the GHalo simulation.

Some of my recent publications related to Dark Matter have been on:

  • The possibility of observing a gamma-ray signal from the self-annihilation of dark matter particles in clumps orbiting the Milky Way: ApJ, 2008, 686, 262 (pdf), Science, 2009, 325, 970 (pdf), Phys.Rev.D, 2010, 81, 3532 (pdf).
  • The effects of velocity space substructure from subhalos and tidal streams on dark matter direct detection experiments on Earth: JCAP, 2010, 02, 030 (pdf).
    [You can download tables of extracted from our simulations.]
Velocity structure in the Via Lactea simulation.

Dwarf Galaxy Formation

I use cosmological hydrodynamical simulation with the adaptive-mesh refinement code Enzo to investigate the process of dwarf galaxy formation. In addition to improving our understanding of dwarf galaxies (a worthy goal in its own right), this work is a crucial ingredient in realizing the full potential of dwarf galaxies for constraining the nature of dark matter.

Some of my recent publications related to Dwarf Galaxy Formation:

  • A study of the effects of regulating star formation in high redshift dwarf galaxy by molecular hydrogen: submitted to ApJ (arXiv:1105.2376)
Csomological Adaptive Mesh Refinement.