CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2009
 7 May 2009

7 May 2009

Speaker: T. J. Cox (CfA)

Title: pH Lecture:
Using Numerical Simulations to Study the Formation and Evolution of Galaxies

Abstract:The past decade has produced an amazingly robust picture for the universe we live in. This picture predicts that structure forms hierarchically, i.e., small objects collapse at early times and grow via mergers and gravity. The prevailing idea for the formation of galaxies is that the morphology and structure that we observe is a direct byproduct of this hierarchical merger history; however, a detailed mapping between specific merger histories, and the wide variety of galaxy types, is still uncertain. By using a comprehensive set of state-of-the-art numerical simulations, we show how this process is being studied, and what some of the common scenarios might be. For example, we show that a single disk-disk merger, such as that which will occur in 5 Gyr between our own Milky Way and our nearest neighbor Andromeda, is a plausible mechanism to form many elliptical galaxies provided that dissipation is involved. We also show were this picture fails, and outline how current and future work will address these shortcomings and yield testable predictions of the model.

Video of the Presentation (Talks can be viewed with RealPlayer. Free download is available from )


Section Photo