Nick Hand


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About Me

Hi there, I'm Nick.


I'm a recent astrophysics Ph.D. graduate from UC Berkeley, where I studied the Universe as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. I am currently pursuing data scientist jobs in Philadelphia, where I can apply the skills learned during my time as a Ph.D. student to continue to answer interesting questions using data and statistics.

My dissertation research focused on cosmology, and in particular, the study of the large-scale structure of the Universe. This subfield of cosmology has quickly developed into a data-driven science, and I've worked to better understand and analyze state-of-the-art data sets. This has included developing massively parallel high-performance computing software to extract statistics from these data sets and make better theoretical predictions for these statistics. I am a strong supporter of open-source software and the open science framework.

I graduated from Princeton in 2011 with a B.A. in astrophysics and a certificate in the applications of computing. Having grown up in New Jersey, the abundant California sunshine was a welcome change during my Ph.D. studies. While not analyzing interesting data sets, I enjoy reading, running long distances, and watching and playing baseball.

Research Interests

Large-Scale Structure

My research interests have recently focused on developing the computational and theoretical tools necessary to analyze the large-scale matter distribution of the Universe. Galaxy surveys map out the positions of galaxies across the Universe (see this amazing video for an example). Statistical studies of these maps allow us to answer fundamental questions about the Universe, including its expansion rate and how the structure that we see today came to form. My Ph.D. studies have focused on developing a massively parallel open-source toolkit, nbodykit, to better analyze data sets from the next generation of galaxy surveys. In general, I am a strong believer in the necessity of the proper software tools in scientific research, as well as open-source software and the power of data to yield insights into the world around us.



University of California, Berkeley

Graduated: December 2017

Ph.D. in Astrophysics

My Ph.D. thesis examines multiple aspects of the analysis of data sets mapping the large-scale structure (LSS) of the Universe. With my advisor, Uros Seljak, I have worked to develop the tools necessary to use data from future experiments to answer fundamental open questions about our Universe. As part of my dissertation, I have developed a massively parallel software toolkit suitable for analyzing and extracting statistics from LSS data sets, as well as novel theoretical techniques for accurately modeling those statistics.

Princeton University

Graduated: May 2011

Bachelor of Arts in Astrophysical Studies
Certificate in Applications of Computing

Working with my advisor, David Spergel, I completed a thesis using data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. We successfully detected the thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect associated with the dark matter halos of luminous red galaxies. We also began work on detecting the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, which led to the first-ever measurement of this effect in 2012.


For an up-to-date listing of my Astrophysics publications, please see NASA ADS and/or the Arxiv


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