Cosmological N-body simulations workshop

From supernovae to large scale structure

On Monday, October 4 we welcomed about 30 participants to a cosmological N-body simulation workshop organised by Andreas Faltenbacher (UWC) and Mat Smith (UCT/AIMS). People from the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the South African Astronomical Observatory, AIMS, Leiden University, University of Massachusetts and the University of Arizona were present.

About 30 participants came to AIMS for the 1-day workshop

The day consisted of a series of talks on diverse topics, ranging from semi-analytic models of galaxy formation to supernova classification and modified gravity. We were especially happy to hear from students. Here is a brief summary of the talks:

Romeel Davé talked about large N-body simulations and the challenges they face: holistic galaxy formation. Neal Katz talked about a Bayesian approach to explore the large parameter space of semi-analytic models of galaxy formation. Jared Gabor discussed the processes responsible for halting star formation in galaxies and Ben Oppenheimer presented work on modelling winds that eject gas from galaxies, also related to stopping star formation.

We enjoyed lunch at AIMS

Patrice Okouma talked about the uncertainty in constraining isocurvature perturbations in the early universe with the latest generation of CMB observations (Planck) and Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations. Mat Smith discussed supernovae Ia lightcurves and the refinements that improve our use of them as standard candles for cosmology, especially in view of future surveys. James Newling discussed the Boosting method as a classifier for supernovae types where spectroscopic information is not available.

After lunch chats on Muizenberg beach

Catherine Cress presented the astronomy/cosmology community in South Africa and discussed cosmological observations that can be carried out with SALT and MeerKAT. Daniel Cunnama presented work on intermediate-scale N-body simulations, somewhere in the range of 50Mpc, between the millennium simulation and individual galaxies. Andreas Faltenbacher talked about halo clustering and their influence on the bias between baryonic and dark matter distributions. Finally Russell Jones discussed using redshift-space distortions and peculiar velocities as cosmological tests of gravity.

Dinner was no reason to stop talking!

The day was punctuated by coffee and lunch, courtesy of our host, AIMS. After lunch conversations continued on the beach. In the evening, we enjoyed a dinner in Kalk Bay: the perfect ending to a great day.

Thank you to all the speakers and participants.

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