Galactic Environments and Evolution: Theoretical Investigation with Computational Astrophysics

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Dalla Vecchia
Amount granted to the IAC Consortium
121.000,00 €
Numerical simulations have established themselves as a third pillar of science, complementing theoretical modelling and laboratory experiments. Especially in areas of science such as cosmology and astrophysics, computer simulations of the formation and evolution of galaxies and larger structures in the Universe are the only experiment to verify theories of the origin and evolution of the Universe. In that regards, the field of Computational Cosmology has seen immense progress over the past decades. While for a long time the focus was on correctly modelling the long-range gravitational forces, it has become indispensable to now also include all the relevant physics of the gaseous component of the Universe: observations are first and foremost providing us with information about objects that are emitting photons and are luminous, and hence models should supply predictions for them. This can be achieved in two ways, by self-consistently solving the (short-range) hydrodynamical forces acting on the gas and adding sub-resolution models to account for all the complex feedback processes of the gas-star system, or by post-processing gravity-only N-body simulation with semi-analytical recipes. Significant progress has been made in both of these directions. However, we are still far from a complete picture of how galaxies form, and how they can be used to constrain competing cosmological models.
The main goal of this coordinated project between the UAM and IAC computational astrophysics research groups is to continue with our long term research on the study of the formation and evolution of cosmic structures of the Universe by means of designing, running, and analyzing state-of-the-art cosmological numerical simulations. These simulations include most of the physical phenomena that are relevant at the scales of interest, and require the most powerful supercomputers worldwide to run them. And the two research teams forming part of this coordinated proposal have a long history of carrying out internationally recognized research in said areas. The objectives of our project can be divided in three main lines of research: galaxies and galaxy clusters within the large-scale structure of the Universe, galaxies in the Local Universe using Constrained Initial conditions through the CLUES collaboration and the detailed study galaxy formation in general using different sub grid modelling. The present project proposal is based on the previous work done by our groups during the past years that have got continuous financial support from MICINN and MINECO grants (AYA2009-13875-C03-02, AYA2013-31101, AYA2013- 46886-P, AYA2014-58308-P, AYA2015-63810-P).
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Numerical Astrophysics: Galaxy Formation and Evolution
How galaxies formed and evolved through cosmic time is one of the key questions of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Cosmological time- and length-scales are so large that the evolution of individual galaxies cannot be directly observed. Only through numerical simulations can one follow the emergence of cosmic structures within the current
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