Dynamics Initiative

The TAP Dynamics Initiative brings together dynamicists to tackle fundamental problems in dynamics across a vast range of physical scales, from the motions of dark matter particles in galactic halos, to the dynamics of planetary and stellar bodies, all the way to galactic collisions. 


We study galactic dynamics using high-resolution simulations, analytic models, and high-precision astrometric data, with a particular focus on the dynamics of galaxies in our Local Group and low mass galaxies across cosmic time.


Group members:

Gurtina Besla (Faculty, AST)

Katherine Chamberlain (Graduate Student, AST)

Hayden Foote (Graduate Student, AST)

Himansh Rathore (Graduate Student, AST)

Research images:


Our group studies the dynamics of galaxies, from orbits to the nature and evolution of major morphological structures, such as spiral arms and bars. Our research includes questions about the interplay between these components, how resonances evolve galaxy morphologies and population distributions, and chrono-chemo-dynamic signatures that can reveal the dynamical history of the Milky Way.

Group members:

Kate Daniel (Faculty, AST)

Leandro Beraldo e Silva (Postdoctoral Scholar, AST)

Amy Smock (Graduate Student, AST)

Sóley Hyman (Graduate Student, AST)


We study the dynamics of binary stars and their planets, using their orbital properties to constrain formation and evolution models. Our group also works on protostellar and protoplanetary disk dynamics, including interactions with companions across the mass spectrum.

Group members:

Kaitlin Kratter (Faculty, AST)

Leo Krapp (Postdoctoral Fellow, AST)

Juan Garrido-Deutelmoser (Research Assistant, AST)

Jackson Zariski (Graduate Student, Applied Math)


We seek to discover the past and future of planetary systems – the diverse effects of gravity that shape where and how planets form and how their orbits evolve in time, how dynamical transport processes of planetary materials operate across vast distances in space and over geologically long times, and how orbital dynamics shapes terrestrial and extra-terrestrial environments. 

Group members:

Renu Malhotra (Faculty, LPL)

Jose Daniel Castro-Cisneros (Graduate Student, PHY)

Ian Matheson (Graduate Student, AME)

Recent animations:

TAP Dynamics Lecture

Monica Valluri, University of Michigan

The Dynamics Initiative will host Monica Valluri, May 14-25, 2024 . See visitor schedule for meetings and visit details, or contact the host Gurtina Besla.

Join the TAP mailing list to receive advance notice of Monica’s TAP Dynamics Lecture and visitor schedule.

Opportunities to Engage

TAP Dynamics Lectureship

Please check back soon for an update on the Spring 2024 Dynamics Lectureship.