Peter Nugent

Division Deputy for Scientific Engagement, Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Adjunct Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
BIDS Senior Fellow

Real name: 
Peter Nugent


I received BA from Bowdoin College in 1990 followed by a MS and PhD in Physics from the University of Oklahoma in 1997. I came to Berkeley in 1996 to work with the Supernova Cosmology Project in the Physics Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where the group made the first measurements of the accelerating universe.I then moved to the Computational Research Division in 2000 as a staff scientist. In 2008, I co-founded the Computational Cosmology Center and became their first group leader. I was promoted to senior staff scientist at LBNL in 2010 and the same year joined the faculty in the Astronomy Department at UC Berkeley. In 2014, I became the division deputy for scientific engagement in the Computational Research Division at LBNL. 

Description of work:

My research focuses on the use of high-performance computing to tackle problems spanning data analysis and theoretical simulation in cosmology and astrophysics.

I am the PI of the Type Ia Supernova program in the Palomar Transient Factory as well as a member of the Dark Energy Survey and the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument. In all three experiments, I am involved in processing large amounts of optical digital imaging data (many TBs on a nightly basis) for which we use machine learning algorithms to perform target selection of interesting astrophysical objects for follow-up. On the theoretical side, I am involved with carrying out spectrum synthesis calculations for supernovae as well as studies of the formation of large-scale structures in the universe, like galaxies and clusters of galaxies. For both, we work on creating novel techniques to directly compare these simulations to observations.