Thesis Topic: Fuelling and growth of galaxy nuclei


Thesis Supervisors: Eric Emsellem



External advisors: Nadine Neumayer (MPIA), Andreas Burkert (LMU), Barbara Ercolano (LMU), Frédéric Bournaud (Saclay)


Black holes (BHs) are ubiquitous at the centres of galaxies and seem to co-evolve with their hosts, as suggested by a number of scaling relations (e.g., black hole mass vs galaxy properties). Nuclear star clusters (NCs) appear to follow similar scaling relations, but unlike BHs, NCs provide a visible record of the accretion of stars and gas. NCs may be also progenitors of BHs, thus relevant to understand their origin and their relation to galaxy formation. We can constrain the assembly histories of NCs using a unique observational dataset, but we are lacking numerical simulations to test the proposed fuelling and growing mechanisms.
We are thus offering here for a PhD project to simulate disk galaxies at high resolution from large (50kpc) to small (0.5pc) scales and probe the detailed coupling between the dynamics and the formation of new stars in the nucleus. These state-of-the-art simulations are becoming feasible now with the advent of supercomputing facilities such as SuperMUC.

Numerical simulations are the core of the PhD project, but should be coupled with observational results from existing data (Integral-Field spectroscopy) or from new campaigns (to be led by the student). The goal for the student would be to quickly master the full chain of events from the definition of the simulations down to their analysis, being able then to propose for new ideas and to define new simulations when relevant. A secondary goal, which we feel is equivalently important, would be for the student to know and understand enough about observations as to be able to “observe” the simulations accordingly and conduct appropriate comparisons. - This is an exciting project linking simulations with observations!

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