(University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
Simulations of Galaxy Formation
Galaxies are the way by which we mark out the evolution of our Universe.
Whether we use them to measure dark energy, study how stars form, explore the
final frontier of reionization, or study them for their own sake, the problem
of galaxy formation is a rich and long-standing area of astrophysics that
remains remarkably poorly understood. This talk will give a brief
introduction to the study of how galaxies form and evolve, discuss some of the
key physical ingredients such as supernova-driven winds and black holes,
highlight some successes and failures of current models, and in particular
describe how powerful supercomputers are paving the way towards an improved
understanding of how galaxies are born, live, and die within a cosmic
ecosystem. By critically comparing such simulations with state of the art
observations using the world’s most advanced telescopes, we are moving closer
than ever towards understanding the origin of galaxies such as our own Milky
Way, and completing our cosmic story from the Big Bang until today.