Simulating the Earliest Generations of Galaxies with Enzo and Blue Waters

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Brian O'Shea, Michigan State University

Brian O’Shea, Michigan State University

In this video from the 2016 Blue Waters Symposium, Brian O’Shea from Michigan State University presents: Simulating the Earliest Generations of Galaxies with Enzo and Blue Waters.

“Galaxies are complex—many physical processes operate simultaneously, and over a huge range of scales in space and time. As a result, accurately modeling the formation and evolution of galaxies over the lifetime of the universe presents tremendous technical challenges. In this talk I will describe some of the important unanswered questions regarding galaxy formation, discuss in general terms how we simulate the formation of galaxies on a computer, and present simulations (and accompanying published results) that the Enzo collaboration has recently done on the Blue Waters supercomputer. In particular, I will focus on the transition from metal-free to metal-enriched star formation in the universe, as well as the luminosity function of the earliest generations of galaxies and how we might observe it with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.”

Brian O’Shea is an associate professor at Michigan State University, with a joint appointment in The Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He is also a member of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering, and the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation. O’Shea is a computational and theoretical astrophysicist, and his research involves numerical simulations and analytical modeling of cosmological structure formation, the cosmic web, galaxy clusters, high-redshift galaxies, and Milky Way-type galaxies. His tools of choice are the Enzo AMR code and the yt data analysis and visualization package.

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  1. PETER WATSON says

    Brian, thank you for your video on galaxy-formation; you are covering an enormous unimaginably vast subject here. Can the same scientific (or similar) study and simulation be applied to how an atom is being created, from apparently nothing — as it does in replenishing the molecules and cells of our bodies — in this instant?
    I’m keen to see if such a study could explain the birth and growth of planet Earth, before looking further afield, since I have some questions relating to why Earth is becoming a dangerous place to live instead of the place of safe habitation that could be its potential.