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.
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.
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’
First Stars/Reionization, Cosmic Structure