Galaxy Formation

A fully predictive theory of galaxy formation remains one of the great, unsolved problems of astrophysics. Galaxy formation represents the intersection of many branches of physics from cosmology to plasma physics, and involves a vast range of length and timescales.  The Galaxy Formation group is developing the numerical tools and physical insights necessary to understand how galaxies form and evolve within a cosmological context.  Our goal is to explain a wide range of observations ranging from high redshift quasars down to the smallest local dwarf galaxies. Topics that group members are working on include:

  • understanding how massive stars and supernovae drive galaxy-wide winds
  • predicting how the universe became reionized and the nature of the first stars, galaxies, and black holes
  • simulating cosmic ray driven winds and exploring their importance in galaxy formation
  • developing numerical methods for hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics
  • understanding how supermassive black holes accrete and grow, and how they affect their galactic hosts and surroundings
  • modeling multi-phase gas in, around, and between galaxies
  • applying advanced statistical tools to extract insights from cosmological simulations
  • developing tools to take galaxy simulations “to the observational plane”
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