Centers & Institutes

The Astronomy Department is associated with several research centers and institutes; see also Observing Facilities and Computing Resources.

UW Astrobiology (UWAB)

The UWAB Program brings together faculty and students from ten (10) different departments, and engages in cutting edge research regarding life in the cosmos. Along with many research seminars and workshops, UWAB offers an interdisciplinary Dual-Title PhD Degree and Graduate Certificate via its Graduate Program.

Institute for Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics & Cosmology (DiRAC)

The DiRAC Institute’s mission is to build the world’s most advanced datasets, algorithms, and tools and use them to explore and understand the universe. This group includes faculty, research staff, and students focused on data-intensive research in all areas of astronomy, with particular emphasis on the solar system, time domain science, and the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).

Virtual Planet Laboratory (VPL)

Founded as one of the NASA Astrobiology Institutes, the VPL is based at UW and is comprised of over 75 researchers at 20 different institutions. This team works to understand the limits and maintenance of planetary habitability, as well as to explore and identify new biosignatures. UW members of the VPL are typically also involved in the UWAB program.

Dark Universe Science Center (DUSC)

The UW DUSC brings experts in dark matter, dark energy, inflation, and gravity together with those who study how these invisible ingredients drive the evolution of the Universe along with the stars, black holes, and galaxies within it. DUSC is composed of theoretical and experimental groups in the physics and astronomy departments.

eScience Institute

The eScience Institute is the hub of data-intensive discovery on campus, helping UW researchers to leverage data science tools, methods, and best practices in their research and in their grant proposals. It is located on the 6th floor of the Physics and Astronomy Building, and hosts the UW Data Science seminars.

Institute for Nuclear Theory (INT)

The Institute for Nuclear Theory is funded by the US Department of Energy and the University of Washington, and provides an environment for scientists to advance the frontiers of subatomic physics. INT offers programs and workshops, as well as S@INT seminars, which may be of interest to UW Astronomy faculty and students. 

Asteroid Institute

The Asteroid Institute is a B612 program which collaborates on asteroid-related STEM projects with major institutions around the world. UW Astronomy faculty and students (within DiRAC) are involved in contributing to development of asteroid detecting software, in the hopes of understanding what to expect for Planetary Defense in the age of LSST.