Applied Galactic Dynamics

Summer School

Tentatively planned to start July 2021. Official decisions will be made by March 2021.


It’s a magnificent time to be a Galactic dynamicist

The Applied Galactic Dynamics School is all about connections: connecting dynamical models and the vast data sets now available; connecting junior and senior astronomers to pool their expertise and enthusiasm; and, in particular, connecting the next generation of dynamicists to these exciting times.

During this Summer School at the CCA we will nurture these multiple connections with the aim to make progress on outstanding problems in galaxy formation and the distribution and nature of dark matter.

Galactic Observations outline a Milky Way full of activity on all scales, from microscopic to macroscopic: phase-space sub-structure in the local volume around the Sun; vertical waves coursing through the Galactic disk; remnants of ancient dwarf galaxies in the inner halo; and stellar debris streams lighting up the dark matter halo.

Dynamics Theory builds upon classic graduate texts on Galactic Dynamics, linear and nonlinear dynamical calculations, and fully self-consistent numerical simulations, to provide comprehensive intuitive physical explanations of the observations as well as predictions for future surveys.

The multi-layered and multiplicative nature of the underlying gravitational actions and reactions means that clear, quantitative interpretations of the observations remain challenging. The promise in the richness of the data sets motivates us to build on fundamental theoretical work to tackle the difficulties.

This is the challenge for our field today.


The Applied Galactic Dynamics School will consist of one week of lectures and tutorials, explorations of available data sets, and project discussions, and 5 weeks for individual projects. During the projects there will be regular group meetings and plenty of informal gatherings to foster cross-project connections, and to make optimal use of the expertise present at the School.

Code of Conduct

All mentors and attendees are expected to follow the Flatiron Institute Code of Conduct.

Mentors and Lecturers


We invite graduate students working in all fields of (extra)Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics to apply, and to work with us this Summer toward understanding the dynamics of our Galaxy. We are particularly interested in students who are enthusiastic about exploring dynamical territories outside their current expertise, or who are interested in extending their experience in Galactic Dynamics from a related research field.

We are committed to working to provide a lively yet supportive working environment for students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse approaches to research. Applicants are required to read and agree to our code of conduct prior to applying.

Questions? email us:

Support for Participants

Support for students includes roundtrip airfare, a meal-plan and accommodation for all six weeks of the school. Students are expected to attend all six weeks.


Emily Cunningham, Elena D'Onghia, Jason Hunt, Kathryn Johnston (chair), Melissa Ness, Sarah Pearson, Adrian Price-Whelan, Robyn Sanderson, Tjitske Starkenburg