Kaley Brauer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photo of Kaley Brauer

Several of the largest outstanding questions in astronomy include: How did the first galaxies form? What are the origins of the heaviest chemical elements in the universe? What is the formation history of the Milky Way? We are helping answer these questions and more with our galaxy formation simulations. The Caterpillar simulation suite models the formation of dozens of Milky Way-mass galaxies, letting us statistically study the history of our galaxy and the accretion of stars that have been enriched with heavy elements. The in-progress Aeos simulations will continue this work by allowing us to study dwarf galaxies with individual star particles. Cosmological simulations of galaxy evolution with individual stars have never been performed until now. These simulations are the new frontier of galaxy evolution and will allow us to better understand stellar feedback and metal enrichment in early galaxies.

Abstract Author(s): Kaley Brauer, Alexander P. Ji, Andrew Emerick, Anna Frebel