Liliya L. R. Williams

Liliya Williams

Liliya L. R. Williams

Director of Undergraduate Studies for MIfA, Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


John T. Tate Hall
Room 285-10
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics (MIfA)

Ph.D., University of Washington, 1995

B.Sc., Princeton University, 1988

Research Interests

Most of my work has to do with dark matter: measuring the amount, and, more importantly, its spatial distribution on a wide range of astrophysical scales, from sub-galactic to super-cluster. Detailed knowledge of dark matter distribution will enable us to place constraints on the physical properties of dark matter particles. Since dark matter is invisible, mapping out its distribution must rely on indirect methods. While a few mass reconstruction methods exist, gravitational lensing is the optimal one, as it does not rely on any assumptions about the physical state of the dark matter or the light emitting matter. Another interesting aspect of dark matter is the study of its dynamics in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. In the last decade we have learned much about the properties of dark matter halos from numerical computer simulations, however, understanding the physics behind these results is still an open issue. This is the other major direction of my research.

Selected Publications

Young, Anthony M.; Williams, Liliya L. R.; Hjorth, Jens, Ubiquity of density slope oscillations in the central regions of galaxy and cluster-sized systems, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics [abstract]

Priewe, Jett; Williams, Liliya L. R.; Liesenborgs, Jori; Coe, Dan; Rodney, Steven A., Lens Models Under the Microscope: Comparison of Hubble Frontier Field Cluster Magnification Maps, submitted to MNRAS [abstract]

Nolting, Chris; Williams, Liliya L. R.; Boylan-Kolchin, Michael; Hjorth, Jens, Testing DARKexp against energy and density distributions o, submitted to JCAP [abstract]

Woldesenbet, Addishiwot G.; Williams, Liliya L. R., Model-free analysis of quadruply imaged gravitationally lensed systems and substructured galaxies, MNRAS [abstract]

Massey, Richard; Williams, Liliya, et al., The behaviour of dark matter associated with four bright cluster galaxies in the 10 kpc core of Abell 3827, MNRAS [abstract]

Dhar, Barun Kumar; Williams, Liliya L. R., Surface brightness and intrinsic luminosity of ellipticals, MNRAS [abstract]

Williams, Liliya L. R.; Barnes, Eric I.; Hjorth, Jens, Collisionless dynamics in globular clusters, MNRAS [abstract]

Williams, Liliya L. R. & Saha, Prasenjit , Light/mass offsets in the lensing cluster Abell 3827: evidence for collisional dark matter?, MNRAS (2011) [abstract]

Hjorth, Jens & Williams, Liliya L. R., Statistical Mechanics of Collisionless Orbits. I. Origin of Central Cusps in Dark-matter Halos, ApJ (2010) [abstract]

Williams, Liliya L. R. & Hjorth, Jens, Statistical Mechanics of Collisionless Orbits. II. Structure of Halos, ApJ (2010) [abstract]

Williams, Liliya L. R.; Hjorth, Jens & Wojtak, Radosław, Statistical Mechanics of Collisionless Orbits. III. Comparison with N-body Simulations, ApJ (2010) [abstract]

Rudnick, L., Brown, S., and Williams, L.L.R., Extragalactic Radio Sources and the WMAP Cold Spot., ApJ, (2007) [abstract]

Advisees and Collaborators

  • Anthony Young, Graduate Student (PhD 2018)
  • Kevin Sebesta, Graduate Student (PhD 2018)
  • Matthew Gomer, Graduate Student
  • Agniva Ghosh, Graduate Student