“Advancing Theoretical Astrophysics” is intended to build and strengthen essential skills in physics and computation for a career in theoretical astrophysics. We will focus on problems related to accretion and outflows around compact objects; however, many of the skills will translate easily to other fields of theoretical astrophysics. The summer school prioritizes a supportive, collaborative, and diverse learning environment.

Advancing Skills

Attendees will learn and employ a variety of computational/numerical methods for problem solving, as well as build essential complementary skills such as data visualisation, public speaking, proposal writing, and networking. The school will be a mix of short topical lectures and interactive problem solving, using methods that can be applied to a wide range of topics. Students will work collaboratively on several types of canonical problems (with guidance from teachers and more advanced students), gaining hands-on experience with cutting-edge techniques employed in modern theoretical astrophysics. Examples include: setting up and solving sets of non-linear differential equations, running numerical simulations of (magneto)hydrodynamic equations, and utilizing order-of-magnitude techniques to develop intuition for a physical problem.

Advancing the Field

We hope this school will not only provide students with the tools to succeed in theoretical astrophysics, but to advance the science itself by opening the conversation to a diverse range of viewpoints, creating new pathways and approaches to solving the most difficult and interesting problems in the universe.


Below is the list of lecturers confirmed so far. Stay tuned for the final list!

Camille Avestruz

University of Chicago & University of Michigan

Nicole Cabrera-Salazar

Movement Consulting

Chiara Ceccobello

Chalmers University of Technology

Jane Dai

University of Hong Kong

Jason Dexter

CU Boulder

Sebastian Heinz

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Daniela Huppenkothen

University of Washington, Seattle

Andrew King

University of Leicester

Nicole Lloyd-Ronning

Los Alamos National Laboratory/University of New Mexico

Sera Markoff

University of Amsterdam

Philipp Mösta

University of Amsterdam

Gibwa Musoke

University of Amsterdam

Smadar Naoz

University of California Los Angeles

Samaya Nissanke

University of Amsterdam

Oliver Porth

University of Amsterdam

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

University of California, Santa Cruz/DARK Copenhagen

Irene Tamborra

Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen

Alexander Tchekhovskoy

Northwestern University


We are still finalizing our programme, but topics to be covered include:

  • Accretion and outflows around compact objects
  • Angular momentum transport
  • Order of magnitude estimates for astrophysical problems
  • Version control/git
  • Data visualization
  • Bayesian statistics
  • Basics of machine learning
  • Complementary skills (how to give a talk, write a proposal, healthy collaborative habits, etc.)

Code of Conduct

During the summer school, we expect participants to follow the code of conduct for the workshop which can be found here. If you have any questions about the workshop, you can reach the organizing committee at advancingtheoastro@gmail.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this summer school for?
The target group for this school are graduate students pursuing a degree in astrophysics, with a BSc degree in physics and/or astrophysics (note that we will consider well-motivated exceptions on a case-by-case basis, such as early-stage postdocs wishing to change research area). If you are an early-career researcher with an interest in pursuing theory, but you have had only limited experience or access to resources please consider applying.

I have very little computational background. Should I apply?
As long as you have a basic comfort level with linux and coding/scripting, you are strongly encouraged to apply.

I have a physics background, but no formal training in astronomy. Should I apply?
Yes, we will accept students with a BSc degree in physics or astrophysics.

I am uncomfortable working in groups with people I don’t know. Should I still apply?
The summer school prioritizes a supportive, collaborative, and diverse learning environment, so students will work together during hand-on sessions and strengthen their team-working capabilities. Students will receive additional individual support when necessary.

What is the approximate cost of the school?
We are still working out the budget but the fee for the school will be ~1000-1500€, which will include: 2 weeks of housing in a student dorm room with access to a kitchen, a bicycle rental or public transport card, lunch and coffee breaks, conference dinner, social event.

Is there travel support available?
We anticipate having limited funding available to help with fees and in a few cases travel, as well as expenses related to dependent care. If you would like to apply for financial support, please indicate that in the application form (you will be asked to provide a letter from your advisor/mentor stating your financial need). Unfortunately we have very limited support funds, so please use this option only if you really need it. The selection procedure for attendance will be need-blind; this information will help us figure out whom to support from the accepted participants.

What is the timeline for hearing if my application is accepted?
You can expect to hear by March 15

What am I expected to bring to the school?
A laptop (please let us know if you do not have access to one and we will try to accommodate that). Check back for additional items as the date nears.

Travel and lodging

We'll soon add more information about travel and lodging to this website!

Getting here

How to get to University of Amsterdam



This year's event is being organized by

Sera Markoff

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

Nicole Lloyd-Ronning

Daniela Huppenkothen

Irene Tamborra

Francesca Calore

Jane Lixin Dai


We are grateful to our sponsors!

Interested in sponsoring Advancing Theoretical Astrophysics? Contact the organizing commitee for details.

Applications are now open!

The deadline for applications was January 15, 2019 and has now passed. Decisions will be announced by March 17.