Mergers in cosmological simulations
Most of the existing literature about major merger simulations relies on idealized setups, where equilibrium galaxies are initialized on Keplerian orbits. In Sparre & Springel 2016 we have for the first time studied a sample of several major mergers in full cosmological setups. We show that strong nuclear starbursts (which strongly resemble e.g. ULIRGs) occur when mergers are colliding head-on in high-speed orbits. In future work we will study the morphological evolution of the stellar disks of the merging galaxies.
Star formation in galaxy simulations
I work on star formation in galaxy formation simulations. Of special interest to me is the star formation rate – stellar mass relation of observed galaxies, which I have studied in the Illustris simulation (illustris-project.org/) and in FIRE (http://fire.northwestern.edu/).
Gamma-ray bursts are the most violent explosions in the universe, where a collapsing star in a few seconds emits the same amount of energy as the sun emits in its entire lifetime. I am involved in an observational program, where we observe gamma-ray bursts with the X-shooter spectrograph mounted at the Very Large Telescope at Paranal in Chile.