From tiny to massive: The formation of galaxies in our Universe
In the current cosmological scenario most of the mass of the Universe is in the form of "cold dark matter".
This unknown substance remains yet undetected, but its existence is inferred indirectly through astronomical observations.
This model of the Universe, based strongly on the existence of dark matter, makes clear predictions about the formation and growth of galaxies, which in turn can be tested through observations.
Galaxies are gravitationally bound conglomerates of gas and stars with a very wide range of masses. Galaxies contain from a few thousand stars in the case of dwarf galaxies, to tens of billions like the Milky Way, to up to thousands billion stars in the most massive galaxies known to date. The number, diversity and overall properties of galaxies then become one of the strongest probes to confirm or reject our current theory of formation of the Universe. In this talk, I will review several observational facts about galaxies that challenge the cosmological paradigm of cold dark matter and how scientists are using numerical simulations from the most powerful supercomputers in the world to help us study these issues in greater detail.
Laura V. Sales
I was born and risen in Argentina where I got my masters and PhD in astronomy at the National University of Cordoba. I was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship in The Netherlands where I moved in 2007 and continued my training in Europe for a total of 6 years between The Netherlands and Germany. I then moved to the US as an ITC Fellow at the University of Harvard in 2013 before joining UC Riverside in 2015 as an Assistant Professor in the department of Physics and Astronomy. My research focuses on understanding the assembly of galaxies within the cosmological framework. I am particularly interested in the context and broad range of physical processes that drive the formation of galaxies; such as cosmology, gravitational dynamics and hydrodynamics, gas cooling, heating and shocks, star formation, metal enrichment and radiative processes. I take a numerical/theoretical approach at this by working daily with high resolution N-body and hydrodynamical simulations that explore the formation of galaxies.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Alex McConahay from Riverside Astronomical Society
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