The theme of my research is the formation and evolution of galaxies, which I study through simulations, observations and modeling.
Understanding the formation of galaxies — the fundamental building blocks of the universe — with their array of morphologies and scaling relations, is one of the most important problems in cosmology today. Among the questions that need to be addressed are:
- How did the Milky Way form? How was its bulge formed? Where are stars now in relation to where they were born? How is the disk orientated relative to the halo?
- How do stars form in galaxies? How can we use the ages of stars to disentangle the formation of galaxies? How much is this archaeological record disturbed by internal evolution and cannibalism?
- How do galaxies get their shapes? What sorts of structures arise from internal evolution? What sorts of structures result from external evolution? How can the two be distinguished?
- How do supermassive black holes and nuclear clusters form and evolve?
- What is the nature of dark matter? How much dark matter is there, how is it distributed, what is its angular momentum? How can we use the observed structure of galaxies to constrain these properties of dark matter halos?