Sophia Lilleengen

Sophia Lilleengen

Astrophysics PhD Candidate and Predoctoral Research Fellow

University of Surrey

CCA, Flatiron Institute


I am an astrophysics PhD candidate at the University of Surrey under the supervision of Denis Erkal and Justin Read. Recently, I have joined the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute as a Predoctoral Fellow working with Adrian Price-Whelan and Kathryn Johnston. My main research interest lies in stellar streams and whether they are sensitive to time-dependent, deforming dark matter halos. The Milky Way is currently deformed by the infalling Large Magellanic Cloud. Which streams are affected and can trace this?

  • Stellar Streams
  • Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud
  • Dark Matter
  • PhD in Astrophysics, 2019 - present

    University of Surrey, United Kingdom

  • MSc in Physics, 2016 - 2019

    University of Heidelberg, Germany

  • BSc in Physics, 2012 - 2016

    University of Heidelberg, Germany



6+ years experience

C++ and C

2 years experience

Event organising

Three researcher events organised


Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow
Jan 2022 – Present New York City, NY, USA
Project: Information Content in Stellar Streams in Time-Dependent Potentials
Postgraduate Research Student
Oct 2019 – Present Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Project: Modelling the Effect of Deforming Dark Matter Halos on Stellar Streams
Pre-Doctoral Researcher
Mar 2019 – May 2019 Perth, Australia
Project: The Impact of Lumpiness in a Dark Matter Halo on the Diffusion in Orbits
MSc Thesis Student
Nov 2017 – Feb 2019 Garching, Germany
Project: Adaptive Dynamics - can Orbital Actions of Globular Clusters Constrain the Gravitational Potential of Galaxies?
European Space Agency Trainee
May 2017 – Oct 2017 Madrid, Spain
Project: Characterising Galaxy Evolution in Nearby Galaxy Clusters
BSc Thesis Student
Sep 2015 – Mar 2016 Heidelberg, Germany
Project: Hunting for Intermediate-Mass Black Holes in Simulated Globular Clusters using Integrals of Motion


(2020). Accreted Globular Clusters in external galaxies: Why adaptive dynamics is not the solution. In Cambridge University Press.

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