Department of Physics and Astronomy (Theoretical Astrophysics)

Supervisor: James Wadsley


What is your research about?

My current research is focused on developing and improving subgrid models used in simulations of galaxy formation and evolution. I'm particularly interested in questions involving stellar feedback (supernovae, stellar winds, etc.) , and it's impact on galaxies and their surrounding intergalactic medium. Simulating the evolution of galaxies over the full history of the universe is extremely difficult because of the incredible range of scales involved. Our own galaxy is more than 100 billion times further across than our sun, and the sun is 700,000km across! Capturing the effects of all of the processes that take place in a galaxy with even the most powerful supercomputers is impossible without lots of clever tricks. One of the most important things stars do for a galaxy is explode at the end of their lives. This can accelerate gas completely out of a galaxy, driving a galactic wind. The videos below show two of my simulations, the left one of a superbubble explosion caused by thousands of stars, and the right hand one showing the effect this can have on a galaxy. Click on the images to see the videos. vishniac Instability Dwarf Starburst

What do you enjoy about your research?

I've always enjoyed both programming and working with computers as well as physics. Theoretical astrophysics gives me a chance to do both, since the tools I use for my physics happen to be supercomputers.

Extra info

My personal webpage
SHARCNet, the Southern Ontario supercomputer coalition