Astronomy Colloquium - Christopher Hayward
- Christopher Hayward
- Center for Computational Astrophysics
A complete theory of galaxy formation requires understanding the details of how gas is converted into stars over cosmic time, which is affected by gas supply, star formation, and feedback-driven outflows. Based on the results of state-of-the-art cosmological zoom simulations, I will argue that galaxy formation is a violent process: at high redshift, stellar feedback causes all star-forming galaxies to undergo rapid fluctuations in their star formation rates on ~10-Myr timescales. Bursts of star formation are followed by strong outflows, which cause the star formation rate to drop precipitously. Fresh gas supply from galactic fountains rejuvenates star formation and restarts the cycle. At z ~ 1, simulations of massive galaxies exhibit a qualitative transition: outflows are no longer driven effectively, and the galaxies transition to steadily star-forming, well-order disk galaxies. I will present an analytic theory that potentially explains the reasons for this transition.