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  • Using an "Uncertainty Principle" for star formation to understand galaxy formation

    Dr Steve Longmore and Dr Diederik Kruijssen

    One of the fundamental, unanswered questions in modern astrophysics is how gas is converted into stars during galaxy formation. The unknown timescales and efficiencies of star formation and feedback within giant molecular clouds present the main limitation of current state-of-the-art hydrodynamical simulations. We have recently developed a new statistical method -- an "uncertainty principle" for star formation -- that for the first time can be used to measure these quantities out to high redshift. This is a big step forward, because previously this was only possible in the limited sample of Local Group galaxies.

    In this thesis project, the student will develop this exciting new avenue by working with state-of-the-art numerical simulations and observations of nearby star-forming galaxies.