Episode 14: Modeling Meerkats!

with Prof Romeel Dave, Prof Lerothodi Leeuw and Nicole Thomas

Welcome to Season 2 of The Cosmic Savannah!

This week we recap what we have been up to during the season break, including an exciting trip to the Kruger National Park in South Africa! We were in Kruger for a workshop to discuss how best to combine simulations and observations in astronomy.

We caught up with the organiser Prof Romeel Dave from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and Episode 8. As well as Nicole Thomas from the University of the Western Cape and Episode 9. We got to see how they are doing and what the workshop aimed to achieve. Nicole also discusses her exciting trip to the 2019 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting!

We’re also joined by Prof Lerothodi Leeuw from the University of South Africa. Lerothodi talks with us about the challenging interface between theory and observations.

Finally, we also get to do some game viewing in the incredible 2 million hectare Kruger National Park!

This week’s guests:

Related Links:
Romeel’s Quora Profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Romeel-Dav%C3%A9
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/meerkat/about-meerkat/
UNISA: https://www.unisa.ac.za/

Featured Image: Modeling Meerkats, a tessellation of the SARAO/MeerKAT image of the galactic centre

Episode 9: Simulating the Universe – Part 2

with Nicole Thomas and Dr Nathan Deg

We continue our discussion from Episode 8 on simulating the Universe, this week focusing on the simulation of actual galaxies.

Nicole explains the SIMBA suite of simulations she is working on. SIMBA is a set of simulations which look at how the super-massive black holes at the centre of galaxies affect the galaxy they live in. She also talks about her experience growing up and studying in Cape Town, and some of the challenges she’s faced.

A simulated galaxy from the SIMBA suite of simulations

Nathan chats with us about his work creating individual galaxies within a computer using a new code he has just published. Using this we can learn more about how galaxies change over time and interact with their environments.

Two colliding galaxies built in GalactICS by Dr Nathan Deg.

Episode Links:
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
UCT Astronomy: http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/
Nathan’s Blog post about his code: https://nathandeg.com/2019/06/04/galactics-for-the-non-astronomers/
Nathan’s GalactICS paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.12700

Featured Image:
Looking at two colliding galaxies built in GalactICS in virtual reality. Video by Dr Nathan Deg, generated in collaboration with Mr Sivitilli, Dr Comrie, and Prof Jarrett in the IDIA visualization laboratory.

This week’s guests:

Episode 8: Simulating the Universe

with Prof Romeel Davé 

Prof Romeel Davé, from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and who spent 5 years working in Cape Town, introduces us to simulations! He explains how we can use simulations to perform experiments to test our understanding of the physics of the Universe.

Romeel also talks about his time here in South Africa, and his involvement in the MeerKAT radio telescope and the general development of astronomy on the African continent.

This week’s guest:

Prof Romeel Davé

Episode Links:

Romeel’s Quora Profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Romeel-Dav%C3%A9
SARAO: https://www.ska.ac.za/about/sarao/
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/meerkat/about-meerkat/

Featured Image: A Simulated Galaxy courtesy of Romeel Dave.