Prof Walter Dehnen

photoProfessor for Theoretical Astrophyiscs

Dipl Phys (Heidelberg), PhD (Heidelberg), Habilitation (Heidelberg)

Tel: +44 0116 252 3549


Office: Room G50, Physics & Astronomy


Originally from Konstanz (Germany), I studied Physics at the Universities of Konstanz and Heidelberg, graduating with a Diploma thesis on the structure of elliptical galaxies, supervised by Ortwin Gerhard, who also supervised my PhD on dynamical models for elliptical galaxies. I then spent five years as postdoc in Oxford mentored by James Binney before moving back to Heidelberg, where I joined the MPIA. In 2002 I moved to the AIP in Potsdam before joining the University Leicester as lecturer in 2003.


Research interests

My research interests are the dynamics of Galaxies, in particular the Milky Way, but also the dynamics of gas flows near supermassive black holes. To this end, I am using numerical methods, such as N-body methods and Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH), which themselves are also subject of my active research.


  • PA3250 Mathematical Physics 3
  • PA4313 Dynamical Systems
  • PA4628 Galaxy Dynamics
  • PA7113 Particle Methods

Selected Publications

  1. The Distribution of Nearby Stars in Velocity Space Inferred from HIPPARCOS Data, W.Dehnen, Astronomical Journal, vol 115, p2384-2396 (1998).
  2. The Pattern Speed of the Galactic Bar, W.Dehnen, Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol 524, pL35-L38 (1999).
  3. A Hierarchical O(N) Force Calculation Algorithm, W.Dehnen, Journal of Computational Physics, vol 179, p27-42 (2002).
  4. Modeling the Disruption of the Globular Cluster Palomar 5 by Galactic Tides, W.Dehnen, M.Odenkirchen, E.K.Grebel & H.-W. Rix, Astronomical Journal, vol 127, p2753-2770 (2004).
  5. Inviscid smoothed particle hydrodynamics, L.Cullen & W.Dehnen, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 408, p669-683 (2010).
  6. Improving convergence in smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations without pairing instability, W.Dehnen & H.Aly, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 425, p1068-1082 (2012).
  7. A fast multipole method for stellar dynamics, W.Dehnen, Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology, vol 1, p1 (2014).
  • Full publications list here
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    Contact Details

    Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
    Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

    Department of Physics & Astronomy,
    University of Leicester,
    University Road,
    Leicester, LE1 7RH,
    United Kingdom.


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