Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information

Aaron Smith grew up in the mountains of San Diego, California, and received bachelor degrees in physics and mathematics from Brigham Young University. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study theoretical astrophysics with Volker Bromm at the University of Texas at Austin. He finished his PhD in 2018 and is now a NASA Einstein Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute.

Research Interests:
Aaron’s dissertation focused on modeling the Lyman-alpha line of atomic hydrogen, which is a powerful probe of the high-redshift universe due to its characteristic strength and spectral properties. He has developed novel methods to significantly accelerate Lyman-alpha simulations, so that full three-dimensional radiation hydrodynamical coupling for resonance lines becomes feasible. As an Einstein Fellow, he will apply multiple state-of-the-art radiative transfer schemes to a wide range of astrophysical settings, including high-resolution cosmological simulations to illuminate the galaxy and supermassive black hole formation process.

Representative publications:
Smith, A., Ma, X., Bromm, V., Finkelstein, S., Hopkins, P., Faucher-Giguère, C., Kereš, D., 2018, preprint (arXiv:1810.08185): ‘The physics of Lyman α escape from high-redshift galaxies’
Smith, A., Tsang, B., Bromm, V., Milosavljević, M., 2018, MNRAS, 479, 2065: ‘Discrete diffusion Lyman α radiative transfer’
Smith, A., Becerra, F., Bromm, V., Hernquist, L., 2017, MNRAS, 472, 205: ‘Radiative effects during the assembly of direct collapse black holes’
Smith, A., Bromm, V., Loeb, A., 2017, MNRAS, 464, 2963: ‘Lyman α radiation hydrodynamics of galactic winds before cosmic reionization’
Smith, A., Bromm, V., Loeb, A., 2016, MNRAS, 460, 3143: ‘Evidence for a direct collapse black hole in the Lyman α source CR7’
Smith, A., Safranek-Shrader, C., Bromm, V., Milosavljević, M., 2015, MNRAS, 449, 4336: ‘The Lyman α signature of the first galaxies’

Science themes:
First Stars/Reionization, Cosmic Structure

Supernovae, Black Holes
Extragalactic Astrophysics

High Performance Computing
Pencil & Paper