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Oscar Agertz

PhD Stockholm University Natural sciences Year of admission: 2016

Simulations of how stars’ lives affect galaxies
The universe contains a multitude of galaxies, everything from small dwarf galaxies to enormous elliptical ones. To understand how this diversity arose, Oscar Agertz will investigate how processes in massive stars influence the dynamics of a galaxy, conducting these experiments using simulations in supercomputers.

When researchers simulate the development of the universe in supercomputers, they only succeed in predicting the growth of extremely massive galaxies. The formation of thin spiral galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, cannot be understood using the present theories.

A major problem is the lack of knowledge about the ways in which massive stars influence how galaxies develop. For example, could the enormous amount of energy released from dying stars mean that material is thrown out from the galaxy?

To gain a better understanding of the interplay between stars and galaxies, Dr. Oscar Agertz from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, will conduct supercomputer simulations in which massive stars are born and die, while he follows the development of a galaxy. No researcher has previously carried out simulations that include objects of such vastly different sizes, but this is necessary to obtain a detailed model of how a universe is formed. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Oscar Agertz will move his activities to Stockholm University.

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Photo: Markus Marcetic