External Seminars

The following talks take place at DAMTP, the Cavendish Laboratory or the Institute of Astronomy and are not organised by this group. However, they might by related to research that is done within this group at DAMTP.

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A Data Intensive Approach to Modelling the Evolution of Technology

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The Galactic Centre: a template for understanding star formation and feedback in a high-pressure environment

he unknown physics of star formation and feedback represent the main bottleneck in connecting the observable galaxy population to cold dark matter cosmology. Both physical processes are expected to vary strongly with galactic environment and across cosmic history. I will discuss recent progress in understanding the physics of star formation and feedback in the inner few hundred pc of the Milky Way — the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) — an environment with gas properties very similar to those in starbursts and high-z galaxies, in which most stars in the Universe formed. Within our lifetime, the CMZ is the only such environment for which it will be possible to simultaneously resolve the gas properties down to the size scales of individual (forming) stars, while also tracing galactic-scale processes, making it a critical benchmark for studies of star and planet formation, feedback, and the interstellar medium across cosmic time. I will focus on recent work seeking to explain a puzzling observational paradox: the vast majority of gas in the CMZ is underproducing stars by 1-2 orders of magnitude compared to empirical star formation relations and theoretical predictions, and yet at the same time a very small fraction of the gas is producing the most violent star formation events in the Galaxy. I will discuss the implications of these findings for environmentally (in)dependent star and planet formation relations/theories and the environment into which supernovae explode. I will finish by outlining the details of a model linking the emerging, multi-scale picture of star formation and feedback to a more general understanding of the mass flows and energy cycles in (extra) galactic nuclei.

Exploring the Galaxy's alpha-element abundances and globular cluster populations with hydrodynamic simulations

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Mathematical methods in reacting flows: From spectral to Lyapunov analysis

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TBC

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The Chemistry of Planet Formation and the Making of Habitable Planets

There is an exciting subset of exoplanets that have been identified as potentially habitable based on their bulk compositions and surface temperatures. How often do these potentially habitable planets contain the necessary ingredients for life: water and feed-stock organics that can react to form the building blocks of life? I will address this question by considering the chemical composition and evolution of the formation sites of planets. Planets form in disks composed of dust, ice and gas around young stars. The study of these disks has recently taken a leap forward thanks to the arrival of the Atacama Large Millimetre and submillimetre Array (ALMA). ALMA has enabled chemical imaging of planet-forming disks, including direct constraints on the distributions of volatiles and small organic molecules of relevance to origins of life. I will present some of the most surprising ALMA discoveries, and how they together with models, laboratory experiments and observations of other circumstellar environments are informing our view of the chemical environments within which planets form, and further the chemical compositions of nascent planets.

Eddingtion Lecture 2018

The spin evolution of supermassive black holes

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Stokes-Smoluchowski-Einstein-Langevin theory for active colloidal suspensions

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Exoplanetary Atmospheres

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Note unusual date

Ligo

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From Seeds to Monsters:  Supermassive Black Holes Over Cosmic Time

Most galaxies, if not all, appear to host central  supermassive black hole​s​, whose masses correlate with host galaxy properties​. This suggests that the growth and assembly of galaxies is coupled to that of their nuclear black holes. We have developed new, more empirically driven semi-analytic models to track black hole growth  that explores a range of initial seeding models, as well as accretion modes. New insights into the formation, fueling and feedback from black holes in these models will be presented. We show that our understanding of the assembly history of black holes stands to be ​transformed, with upcoming and future observational probes JWST​, LYNX and LISA ​that will provide  key discrimination between these models, and further illuminate the black hole-host galaxy connection.

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Acceleration of tropical cyclogenesis by self-aggregation feedbacks

Idealized simulations of tropical moist convection have revealed that clouds can spontaneously clump together in a process called self-aggregation. This results in a state where a moist cloudy region with intense deep convection is surrounded by extremely dry subsiding air devoid of deep convection. Because of the idealized settings of the simulations where it was discovered, the relevance of self-aggregation to the real world is still debated. Here we show that self-aggregation feedbacks play a leading-order role in the spontaneous genesis of tropical cyclones in cloud-resolving simulations. Those feedbacks accelerate the cyclogenesis process by a factor of two, and the feedbacks contributing to the cyclone formation show qualitative and quantitative agreement with the self-aggregation process. Once the cyclone is formed, WISHE effects dominate, though we find that self-aggregation feedbacks have a small but non negligible contribution to the maintenance of the mature cyclone. Our results suggest that self-aggregation, and the framework developed for its study, can help shed some new light into the physical processes leading to cyclogenesis and cyclone intensification. In particular, our results point out the importance of the longwave radiative cooling outside the tropical cyclone.

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A better way to observe high-redshift gas

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