The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham

Extragalactic Workshop on
"Semi-analytic models - are we kidding ourselves?"

June 24-25, 2008

Semi-analytic models - are we kidding ourselves

Download large version of workshop poster as pdf or jpeg file

Scientific Background
Final programme
Confirmed Participants

Previous Extragalactic Workshops: 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000



June 30th 2008
Final programme with links to pdf/ppt files posted

June 23th 2008
Final programme posted

June 16th 2008
Final announcement sent out

June 4th 2008
Second announcement
Participant list posted; pdf version of poster available

June 3rd 2008
Provisional programme posted

May 14th 2008
List of accommodation options posted

May 9th 2008
First announcement

Scientific Background

This year's topic is semi-analytic models of structure formation. Such models start from a developing population of dark matter halos, often taken from N-body simulations. The behaviour of the baryonic matter is then grafted on, using analytical approximations to capture the essential physics of cooling, heating, star formation and evolution, galaxy dynamics, growth of black holes, and other processes of interest. These physical prescriptions contain a number of adjustable parameters, which can be tuned to attain a reasonable match to selected observational properties, such as galaxy luminosity functions and the X-ray luminosities of clusters.

This semi-analytic approach allows baryon physics to be incoporated in a way which, compared to hydrodynamical simulations, is fast, transparent and easily modified, and arguably provides greater physical insight into the results. The contrary view is that semi-analytic models contain so many adjustable features that their optimisation constitutes little more than an underdetermined fitting operation, resulting in models which are non-unique and have little predictive power.

In this Workshop we aim to examine different semi-analytic prescriptions, to discuss the extent to which these are able to reproduce observational properties for which they have not been tuned, and to see where they fail and what can be learned from this.

Organising committee


Travel to Birmingham: It is very convenient to travel to the University by train. Birmingham University has its own station called "University", which is an 8 min ride from Birmingham New Street station, with local trains from New Street running every 10-15 mins during most of the day.

From the University station walk towards the centre of the campus, aim in the general direction of the clock tower, which is in Chancellors Court. The meeting will be held in the Small Lecture Theatre, accessible via the Physics West Building (R8). Physics West is on the other side of Chancellor's Court from the station. Enter the building through the door facing the clock tower; signs will be there to guide you to the lecture theatre.

Some car parking spaces will also be available, please let us know if you plan to travel by car.

Directions and maps: General directions to getting to the University, along with maps of the Edgbaston campus and surrounding area, can be found here, with more specific directions to the School of Physics and Astronomy provided here

Overnight Arrangements: A list of accommodation options for the Tuesday night (24th June) is available here.

Registration: Registration will take place on the morning of 24th June. The basic workshop fee will be 55 per participant. Payment can be made by cash or cheque (but unfortunately not credit card) on arrival.

If you wish to attend, please click here, paste the form into your mail client, and mail to before 28th May.

Projection Facilities: We will have the usual overhead projector and facilities for projecting Powerpoint presentations. As ever with Powerpoint you probably should have a back-up in the event of an incompatibility between our system and yours.

This page is maintained by Alastair Sanderson and was last updated on