Rob Crain

I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University.

My chief research interest is the formation of galaxies and their dynamic co-evolution with their gaseous environments. My primary research tools are large-scale hydrodynamical simulations of cosmic structures and their associated galaxy populations, conducted on world-leading supercomputing facilities. These ‘synthetic universes’ are evolved over 14 billion years of cosmic history, from the Big Bang to the present day. They are the astrophysicist’s analogue of laboratory experiments; they enable us to study the complex processes that shape the properties of galaxies and their environments, and that ultimately govern the nature of the galaxy population we observe around us.

I moved to LJMU in November 2014, having obtained my PhD at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, and following postdoctoral positions at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (Australia), and the Leiden Observatory (Netherlands).

I am also currently a visitor at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.


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I am a member of the ARI’s computational galaxy formation group, within which we offer supervision of PhD theses. The group operates a capable Tier-2 high performance computing facility here at LJMU, and has access to national and international HPC facilities via the DiRAC and PRACE networks. I am a core member of the Virgo Consortium, affording access to additional facilities, and world-leading software and expertise.