Hector Research Career Development AwardTowards a Professorship: Funding for Heidelberg Astrophysicist

31 March 2022

Dylan Nelson receives Hector Research Career Development Award

The astrophysicist Dr Dylan Nelson, who heads an Emmy Noether junior research group at the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University, has received the Hector Research Career Development Award. The award is endowed with 25,000 euros and, besides the funding, includes additional money for the establishment of a doctoral position. The Hector Foundation hereby follows the goal of supporting outstanding young researchers on their way towards a professorship. The prize also comes with membership of the Hector Fellow Academy, a platform for networking among scholars who have received a Foundation award.

Portrait of Dr. Dylan Nelson

Dylan Nelson studied at the University of California in Berkeley and at Harvard University (both USA). After earning his doctorate in 2015, he became a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching near Munich. Since 2020 he has directed the Emmy Noether research group “Computational Galaxy Formation and Evolution”, which explores the origins and development of galaxies with computer support. The research group is based at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, which is part of the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University. “We want to understand how gas flows in, out of and around galaxies,” underlines the astrophysicist. In order to understand the evolution of cosmic structures over time, Dr Nelson’s research group is developing numerical simulations. “With the funds from the Award and the additional doctoral position, we can explore new simulation techniques and applications of current machine learning methods,” says Dylan Nelson.

This year, three scientists have received the Hector Research Career Development Award. It recognises early-career researchers from the natural or engineering sciences, medicine and psychology. Besides the research funds and financing of the doctoral position, the prize also comprises a five-year membership of the Hector Fellow Academy, which was founded in 2013. It promotes the interdisciplinary cooperation of Hector Fellows from different fields.