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April 5, 20214:15 pm – 5:15 pm (CDT)

How to Regulate Galaxy Growth Through Cosmic History


Justin Spilker (University of Texas Austin)


Casey Papovich

Event Details

One of the most important realizations of the last fifteen years is the vital role that galactic feedback must play in the evolution of galaxies. An umbrella term for a wide array of physical processes that already began to affect galaxies in the first billion years after the Big Bang, feedback allows galaxies to self-regulate their growth, links the buildup of stellar mass and black holes, and connects galaxies to the dark matter haloes they live in. Because of the vast range of physical and temporal scales involved and a lack of direct observational tracers, studying feedback in action has remained difficult. I will discuss a few of my ongoing efforts to understand the causes and effects of galactic feedback, focusing on a few populations of galaxies that allow new windows into the underlying physics. Focusing mainly on my work using radio and submillimeter telescopes across the globe, I will argue that unique insights can be gained from observing molecular gas, the direct fuel for future star formation, in galaxies that exhibit the signs of feedback most strikingly. The ultimate goal of these studies is to understand the mechanisms, direction, and consequences of feedback in galaxies, and I will outline areas where significant progress can be made from next-generation observatories, including the James Webb Space Telescope beginning next year and the Giant Magellan Telescope by the end of the decade.

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