Daniel Pomarède

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Daniel Pomarède is a staff scientist at the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe, CEA Paris-Saclay University. He co-discovered Laniakea, our home supercluster of galaxies. Specialized in data visualization and cosmography, a branch of cosmology dedicated to mapping the Universe, he also co-authored the discoveries of the Dipole Repeller and of the Cold Spot Repeller, two large influential cosmic voids, and the discovery of the South Pole Wall, a large-scale structure located in the direction of the south celestial pole beyond the southern frontiers of Laniakea.

Daniel Pomarède
Born(1971-10-03)October 3, 1971
EducationPh.D in particle physics and cosmology
Known forLaniakea Supercluster, South Pole Wall
Scientific career
InstitutionsCEA Paris-Saclay University


Daniel Pomarède graduated from the Interuniversity Magister degree in Physics of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris and Paris Universities (1991-1994), training in diverse research projects: experimental atomic physics in the group led by Marie-Anne Bouchiat at Kastler–Brossel Laboratory, waveguide optics at the Laser Research Group, University of Manchester, supersymmetry at CEA Theoretical Physics Department in Saclay.[1] He served overseas as a national service scientific cooperant at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and got a Master of Science degree from the University of South Carolina, contributing to the preparation and analysis of nuclear physics experiments on the spin structure of the nucleon.[2] In 1999, he completed his Ph.D. in particle physics and cosmology at the Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire des Hautes Energies at Ecole Polytechnique with a thesis on the search for cosmological antimatter in TeV cosmic rays, using the 10m Imaging Atmospheric Cerenkov Telescope at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in Arizona.[3] He then went on postdoctoral positions at CEA Service de Physique des Particules in Saclay and at the Physics Department of the University of Rome, La Sapienza, to work on the preparation of the ATLAS Experiment at CERN.[4] Back in Saclay, he co-founded in 2005 the COAST Computational Astrophysics Program dedicated to supercomputer simulations in astronomy, in the context of which he developed the SDvision Saclay Data Visualization software.[5] As of 2010 he is applying these data visualization and analysis techniques in the field of cosmography.[6][7][8][9][10]


Research workEdit

Daniel Pomarède co-authored several papers in the field of cosmography, the mapping of large-scale matter distribution and kinematics of the observable universe, with the following most significant publications:

  • Discovery of the Laniakea Supercluster (2014).[11] This structure was discovered in the velocity field inferred from the Cosmicflows-2 catalogue of peculiar velocities and distances of galaxies, where flowlines within a three-dimensional basin of attraction of typical size 160 Mpc converge on a single attractor (the Great Attractor). The volume enclosing this basin of attraction draws the frontiers of the supercluster within which is located our galaxy, the Milky Way. The structure is named Laniakea, association of the Hawaiian terms Lani, heaven, and Akea, immense, to honor the Polynesian navigators and astronomers who used stars and oceanic currents to guide themselves in the immensity of the Pacific Ocean. This discovery makes the cover[12] of Nature, September 4, 2014 edition[13] and is accompanied by a News article,[14] a News & Views article,[15] an Editorial,[16] and a Nature Video[17]
  • Discovery of the Dipole Repeller (2017.[18] The visualization and analysis of cosmic flows revealed that the velocity field diverges from a region, presumably a large void, that is antialigned with the motion of our galaxy at 630 km/s (which causes a dipole in the temperature distribution of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation). Matter flowing from underdense to overdense regions, such an underdense region of the Universe act as effective repeller, though the only fundamental force in action is gravitation, an attractive force. The influence of this repeller (push) on our motion is found to be comparable in amplitude to that of the Shapley supercluster (pull). This discovery was published in the newly created Nature Astronomy journal.
  • Discovery of the Cold Spot Repeller (2017).[19] The analysis of the more extensive Cosmicflows-3 catalogue of galaxies revealed the presence of a major basin of repulsion located in the approximate direction of the Cold Spot observed in the map of the Cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations. It has been hypothetized that this cold spot might be caused by large voids, or supervoids. The discovery of the repeller provides increased evidence of a substantial void or succession of lesser voids, in the Cold Spot directions.
  • Discovery of the South Pole Wall (2020).[20] The South Pole Wall is a large scale structure observed in the direction of the south celestial pole. With its heart located in the Chamaeleon constellation, this filament embraces the southernmost frontiers of the Laniakea supercluster. It has roughly the same size as the Sloan Great Wall, at half the distance.

Communication with the publicEdit


Cosmography studies published in scientific journals offer maps not only in the form of standard figures, but also in the form of extensive videos and interactive visualizations. Intended primarily for the specialists in the field of cosmology, these video maps turned out to be of great interest for the general public. A collection of such products developed by Daniel Pomarède and his fellow co-authors aggregated approximately one million views on platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube and Sketchfab:

  • “Cosmography of the Local Universe” is a 17 minutes long video exploring the structure of the nearby universe with a particular emphasis on the Great Attractor region, using the data from the Cosmicflows-1 catalogue of galaxies.[21] Discover Magazine called it “The Most Amazing Map You’ll See Today (No Matter What Day It Is)”;[22] “New Science of Cosmography Reveals 3-D Map of the Local Universe” (MIT Technology Review);[8] “Spectacular Cosmographic Maps Chart Galaxies and Superclusters in Local Universe” (Wired);[9] “This video is a trip – through the known universe” (Los Angeles Times);[10] “Astronomers create stunning 3D space maps of Earth’s nerest galaxies” (METRO);[23] “Cosmic Cartography: Here Is Your (Local) Universe” (Scientific American).[24]
  • The discovery of Laniakea is described in a Nature Video “Laniakea: Our home supercluster” which collected 6.7 million views [13]. This video uses elements from “Cosmography of the Local Universe” and from the video “The Laniakea Supercluster of galaxies” Laniakea: Our Supercluster of Galaxies that is part of the scientific article.
  • “Action Dynamics of the Local Supercluster” Action Dynamics of the Local Supercluster - Download Free 3D model by Daniel Pomarède (@pomarede) [0981969] is presumably the first 4D interactive visualization ever included in a scientific journal article. Published in the Astrophysical Journal Action Dynamics of the Local Supercluster, this interactive animation shows the fully nonlinear gravitationally induced trajectories of a nearly complete set of galaxies, groups, and clusters in the Local Supercluster constructed in a Numerical Action Method (NAM) model constrained by data from the Cosmicflows survey and various distance indicators, with a time evolution running from the past 13.25 billion years to present.
  • ‘The Cosmic V-Web” The Cosmic V-Web offers both an 11 minutes-long video and a 3D interactive visualization of a map of the Cosmic Web inferred from the analysis of the velocity field, published in the Astrophysical Journal The Cosmic V-Web.
  • “Cosmicflows-3: Cosmography of the Local Void” Cosmicflows-3: Cosmography of the Local Void is an 11 minutes long video map of the Local Void, a large underdense region of the Universe, on the outskirts of which is located our galaxy the Milky Way, and of its relation with other cosmic voids and major overdense neighbors, published in the Astrophysical Journal Cosmicflows-3: Cosmography of the Local Void
  • “The Cold-Spot Repeller” The Cold-Spot Repeller - Download Free 3D model by Daniel Pomarède (@pomarede) [eab86b4 - Sketchfab] is an interactive visualization mapping the gravitational potential field and flow obtained with the Cosmicflows-3 catalog of galaxies peculiar velocities. Published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters Cosmicflows-3: Cold Spot Repeller?, it shows the 3D structure of flow diverging from the Cold Spot Repeller and the Dipole Repeller, and converging dominantly on the Shapley Attractor.

Public ConferencesEdit

Radio ProgramsEdit


  1. ^ ORCID [1]
  2. ^ Scholar [2]
  3. ^ Ecole Polytechnique Open Archive [3]
  4. ^ Scholar [4]
  5. ^ Scholar [5]
  6. ^ New York Times “Beyond the Milky Way, a Galactic Wall” Dennis Overbye, 10 juillet 2020 [6]
  7. ^ NBC News “Master plan of the universe revealed in new galaxy maps” Corey S. Powell, Aug. 11, 2019 [7]
  8. ^ a b MIT Technology review “New Science of Cosmography Reveals 3-D Map of the Local Universe” Emerging Technology from the arXiv, June 5, 2013 [8]
  9. ^ a b Wired “Spectacular Cosmographic Maps Chart Galaxies and Superclusters in Local Universe” Adam Mann, June 12, 2013 [9]
  10. ^ a b Los Angeles Times “This video is a trip – through the known universe” Geoffrey Mohan, June 14, 2013 [10]
  11. ^ Tully, R. Brent; Courtois, Hélène; Hoffman, Yehuda; Pomarède, Daniel (4 September 2014). "The Laniakea supercluster of galaxies". Nature. 513 (7516): 71–73. arXiv:1409.0880. Bibcode:2014Natur.513...71T. doi:10.1038/nature13674. PMID 25186900.
  12. ^ "Under the covers (Nature revealed) - 4 September 2014" by Alex Jackson in the Nature community blog Of Schemes And Memes (5 September 2014)
  13. ^ Nature, September 4, 2014 edition [11]
  14. ^ Elizabeth Gibney (3 September 2014). "Earth's new address: 'Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea'". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2014.15819.
  15. ^ Elmo Tempel (3 September 2014). "Meet the Laniakea supercluster". Nature. 513 (7516): 41–42. doi:10.1038/513041a. PMID 25186896.
  16. ^ "Heavenly homes". Nature. 513 (7516): 6. 3 September 2014. Bibcode:2014Natur.513Q...6.. doi:10.1038/513006a. PMID 25186868.
  17. ^ Nature Video "Laniakea: Our home supercluster" [12]
  18. ^ Hoffman, Yehuda; Pomarède, Daniel; Tully, R. Brent; Courtois, Hélène (30 January 2017). "The dipole repeller". Nature Astronomy. 1 (2): 0036. arXiv:1702.02483. Bibcode:2017NatAs...1E..36H. doi:10.1038/s41550-016-0036. S2CID 7537393.
  19. ^ Courtois, Hélène; Tully, R. Brent; Hoffman, Yehuda; Pomarède, Daniel; Graziani, Romain; Dupuy, Alexandra (14 September 2017). "Cosmicflows-3: Cold Spot Repeller?". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 847 (1): L6. arXiv:1708.07547. Bibcode:2017ApJ...847L...6C. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aa88b2. S2CID 119481425.
  20. ^ Pomarède, Daniel; Tully, R. Brent; Graziani, Romain; Courtois, Hélène; Hoffman, Yehuda; Lezmy, Jérémy (10 July 2020). "Cosmicflows-3: The South Pole Wall". The Astrophysical Journal. 897 (2): 133. arXiv:2007.04414. Bibcode:2020ApJ...897..133P. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab9952. S2CID 220425419.
  21. ^ "Cosmography of the Local Universe". CEA Paris-Saclay University Institutional website. 2013.
  22. ^ Discover Magazine “The Most Amazing Map You’ll See Today (No Matter What Day It Is)” Corey S. Powell, 1 June 2013
  23. ^ Molloy, Mark (15 June 2013). "Astronomers create stunning 3D space maps of Earth's nearest galaxies". METRO.
  24. ^ Scharf, Caleb A. (17 June 2013). "Cosmic Cartography: Here Is Your (Local) Universe=". Scientific American.

External linksEdit