12:00–1:00 pm ERC 576
Sarah Wellons, Northwestern University, "Simulating Galaxy Formation in the Early Universe"
Host: Anne Gambrel
As techniques have improved over the last decade, observations have peered deep into the Universe's history and begun to glimpse galaxies which formed in the first few billion years after the Big Bang. Evidence is mounting that galaxies in the early Universe appear and behave very differently from those nearby - for example, the most massive galaxies are extremely compact, and star-forming disks appear to have strange clumpy morphologies. In this talk, I will discuss galaxy formation at z > 2 from a theoretical perspective, presenting results drawn from both Illustris, a large-volume cosmological simulation (which allows us to compare and predict the statistical properties of galaxy populations), and FIRE high-resolution zoom-in simulations (which allow us to drill down on the physics governing individual systems). I will focus in particular on massive compact galaxies, whose varied formation and evolution present a case study on how galaxy populations evolve over time, and on massive disks, whose rapid rotation can tell us about the distribution of baryonic and dark matter in the earliest galaxies.