From Micro to Macro: Connecting the Physics of Galaxy Formation Across Scales

May 16, 2024 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Campus, PAB 102/103

Drummond Fielding (Flatiron Institute) In Person and zoom

Zoom Recording Passcode: wYja=1*J

Galaxies lie at the nexus of modern astrophysics. They are essential cosmological probes, and set the environment in which stars form and compact objects merge. As such, galaxies are crucial to all of astrophysics, and yet our grasp of how they evolve is incomplete. The key lies in understanding the complicated balance between inflows and outflows that shape galaxies and regulate the fuel supply for star formation and black hole growth. Understanding these galactic gas flows has, to date, been inhibited by the seemingly insurmountable range of spatial and temporal scales inherent to the governing processes. I will describe my efforts to bridge this vast range of scales and illuminate the physics underlying galaxy formation using pioneering simulations, intuitive analytics, and novel machine learning methods. We will cover how micro-scale (~sub-pc) processes, such as turbulent mixing, magnetic reconnection, and cosmic ray transport, connect with meso-scale (~kpc) phenomena, such as supernova-driven galactic winds, and how—when combined using innovative multi-scale techniques—they shape the macro-scale (~Mpc) dynamics and galactic properties. Taken together, these efforts aim to reshape how we interpret observations and to usher in a new era of truly predictive galaxy modeling.