Simulations of the Universe

Theoretical computer simulations of the universe’s early and remote galaxies have shown that they were enshrouded in gigantic clouds of neutral hydrogen, and that they emitted extremely strong ultraviolet radiation. This radiation, according to current theories, knocked out the electrons from atomic hydrogen and created the warm ionized medium that now pervades intergalactic space.

The problem with the simulations

The problem is that these simulations do not match observations: emission from cold gas is extremely hard to detect, and the ultraviolet radiation that has been observed from remote galaxies is too weak. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Dr Matthew Hayes, from the Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, will study early galaxies through the advanced Very Large Telescope in Chile. He will also study closer galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. He aims to use innovative simulations to explain the formation of galaxies in our early universe and how they evolved into modern galaxies.

What it means to be a Wallenberg fellow

Matthew Hayes. Photo: Charlotta Hayes
Matthew Hayes. Photo: Charlotta Hayes

“This grant is enormously valuable for my research, and it could not have come at a better time.  It allows me, for the first time in my career, to begin building my own research group.  We will be able to really focus on the big picture of galaxy formation, and tackle some of the most pressing questions.  We should be able to put quite precise constraints upon fundamental issues regarding the energetics of galaxies hosting extreme star formation.  Soon we will have a substantially improved picture of galaxies and the way they have behaved over a large amount of cosmic history,” says Matthew Hayes.

Read more in Stockholm University Research Database or on the web page of Matthew Hayes.