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Astronomy Colloquium
"Toward a physically-predictive theory of galaxy formation: resolved stellar and black hole feedback"
Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 PM, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere, Northwestern University
Abstract: Over the past few years, cosmological hydrodynamic simulations have begun to produce galaxy populations with properties that agree broadly with observations. The successes of most existing simulations however rely on carefully tuning parameters of sub-grid models for core physical processes such as star formation, stellar feedback, and supermassive black holes. I will describe a research program that aims to greatly improve the predictive power of galaxy formation models by directly resolving some of the key physical processes in the ISM of galaxies and developing approximations for unresolved processes that are directly calibrated using small-scale calculations. This approach largely eliminates the need for tunable parameters. I will present some key results from the FIRE ("Feedback In Realistic Environments") cosmological simulations developed using this approach, including on the physics shaping the galaxy stellar mass function, the generation of galactic winds, the chemical enrichment of galaxies, and observational diagnostics of circum-galactic gas flows. I will conclude by outlining our on-going work to model supermassive black hole growth and feedback, from galactic nucleus to cosmological scales.<br>
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