The TAP group participates in the Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) 881 “The Milky Way System” at Heidelberg University. The research work of SFB 881 revolves around our own galaxy, the Milky Way, a typical spiral galaxy and hence a member of the most common class of massive galaxies in the universe.
The scientists involved in the SFB investigate the origins and evolution of the Milky Way in order to clarify fundamental principles of galaxy formation. The TAP group participates in the theoretical effort to understand the formation of the Milky Way in its cosmological context, primarily through the use of numerical simulations. This in particular tests the predictions of cosmological models on galaxy formation and helps to probe the small-scale distribution of dark matter.
The SFB 881 is located at Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (ZAH) and assembles scientists from the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA) and the Landessternwarte Königstuhl (LSW). Non-university research institutions involved are the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy (MPIA) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). In addition, the Haus der Astronomie (HdA) provides outstanding opportunities for making research on the Milky Way accessible to the general public.
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.