Alyson Brooks (CalTech)
Toward the Formation of Realistic Galaxies
Much progress has been made in recent years in forming realistic disk galaxies in fully cosmological simulations. Computational advances have allowed for unprecedented resolution, which in turn allows for a more realistic treatment of star formation and energy feedback. These improvements have led to a new examination of gas accretion, consumption, and loss in the formation of galaxy disks. I will show that a more realistic treatment of gas in simulated disk galaxies leads to a better match with observational results as a function of redshift. I will demonstrate that because star formation (i.e., gas consumption) varies with galaxy mass, the structure of dark matter within galaxies varies with mass. This leads to observable scaling relations as a function of galaxy mass, and resolves a number of long standing challenges within the CDM model. Realistic simulated galaxies are the necessary starting point for interpreting observations in light of galaxy formation theory.