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Forming Galaxies in Cosmological Zoom-in Simulations

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Title: Forming Galaxies in Cosmological Zoom-in Simulations
Author(s): Rantala, Antti
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics
Discipline: Astronomy
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2014
In this Master's thesis, I have reviewed the theory of galaxy formation and evolution from primordial fluctuations to present-day galaxies. I have also examined the procedure for creating initial conditions for cosmological Zoom-in simulations. The main aim of this thesis was to perform groundwork in the field of Zoom-in simulations at the Department of Physics of the University of Helsinki for my future PhD studies. I have prepared a total number of 10 high-resolution multi-mass Zoom-in initial conditions, five of which contains dark matter and baryons and the rest consisting of dark matter only. The Zoom-in initial conditions were calculated using the P-GenIC N-body initial conditions code using the Alcyone cluster at the Department of Physics in July and August 2013. The computation of the Zoom-in initial conditions took approximately 41 days in wall-clock time using 24 processors. The ten Zoom-in simulations were run on the supercomputer Sisu at CSC, the Finnish IT Center for Science in September and October 2013 using the N-body simulation code GADGET-3. The code calculated the Newtonian gravitational force using the TreePM method. The gas dynamics was computed with the SPH algorithm and the properties of the interstellar medium and star formation were modeled using a statistical subgrid model. The simulation runs took approximately from one hour to one week of wall-clock time using 64 processors. The ten simulated galaxies were searched for contamination from low-resolution particles. The high-resolution regions of the galaxies were not contaminated, validating the preparation method of the Zoom-in initial conditions. The basic properties of the galaxies at z=0 were analyzed, including virial radii and virial masses, circular rotation curves and density profiles. Finally, star formation histories and colors of the simulated galaxies were extracted. The properties of the simulated galaxies were consistent with previous studies in the field of Zoom-in simulations (Naab et al. 2007, Johansson et al. 2012). Thus, I conclude that the aims set for this Master's thesis were successfully completed. After the groundwork has been conducted, it is convenient to move to future studies in the field of cosmological structure formation simulations. The focus of the future work will be in improving the simulation codes and in developing more realistic astrophysical feedback models. Increased spatial resolution and improved feedback models of the simulations can lead to significant progress on the most demanding challenges in the field of cosmological structure formation simulations.

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