Thesis Topic: understanding the multi-scale coupling in star-forming disks via hydro-dynamical simulations


Thesis Supervisor: Eric Emsellem

External advisors: Eva Schinnerer (Heidelberg), Jeremy Fensch (Lyon), Florent Renaud (Lund)




Extensive observational and theoretical efforts have demonstrated that most stars in the nearby universe have formed secularly in discs over the last 10 Gyr. Stars form from cold gas clouds, and the building and shredding of such clouds is intimately connected with local conditions driven by large-scale processes within galaxies. The products of star formation and stellar evolution have themselves a strong impact on the interstellar medium, on their environment, and more globally on galaxy structures. Understanding the onset, roles and evolution of these structures, revealing the scale coupling between the large-scale dynamics of stars and gas, and the formation or destruction of gas clouds, the triggering, enhancement, or prevention of star formation, remains a nagging key question of modern astronomy.

We are thus offering a PhD project aimed at further constraining the role of galactic structures, e.g., bars and spirals, on the triggering, prevention or regulation of star formation. This will be done in the context of the ambition PHANGS ( campaign, via the use of state-of-the-art hydro-dynamical simulations of disk galaxies. The
student will design, conduct and analyse high resolution numerical simulations, linking them with the best existing survey of nearby disc
galaxies, taking advantage of 3 Large Programmes with ALMA, MUSE and HST!

The project will be conducted at ESO Garching, on one of the best astronomy campus in the world. It will involve an international team of junior and senior astronomers from various institutes and countries (e.g., Germany, USA, Australia, France, Sweden), providing an excellent and supporting environment for the PhD student, opening doors to many fruitful collaborations. The project will require the use of supercomputers (e.g., SuperMuc). While the focus of the work will be on the simulations themselves, this project represents an exciting opportunity to also acquire top-level skills associated with multi-wavelength observational astronomy via the unique PHANGS datasets (ALMA, MUSE, HST). The team will fully engage to guide and support the PhD student as to have her/him take full ownership of the project, its science objectives and results.