Profile Photo (180x234)

Contact Info

Office:  RLM 17.304
Phone: (512) 471-1495
asmith@astro.as.utexas.edu

Aaron Smith

As a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (NSF GRFP) at UT Austin I use computer simulations to study aspects of cosmology and galaxy formation during the first billion years after the Big Bang. Recently my advisor Volker Bromm and I have been modeling Lyman-alpha (Lyα) radiation as a probe of the first galaxies. Our group synergy has allowed me to focus on specific aspects of the simulations and develop the Cosmic Lyα Transfer code (COLT) to facilitate an accurate understanding of the most prominent spectral line of astronomy within the cosmic context. Prior to this I worked on analyzing data from precision measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). My broader scientific interests include high performance computing, software development, science education and outreach, theoretical physics, pure and applied mathematics, quantitative finance, and music composition. For more information please visit my research and code pages.

Smith, A., Tsang, B., Bromm, V., Milosavljević, M., 2017, preprint (arXiv:1709.10187): 'Discrete diffusion Lyman-alpha radiative transfer'

Smith, A., Becerra, F., Bromm, V., Hernquist L., 2017, Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 472, 205): 'Radiative effects during the assembly of direct collapse black holes'

Smith, A., Bromm, V., Loeb, A., 2017, Astronomy & Geophysics, 58, 3.22: 'The first supermassive black holes' (Invited Review)

Smith, A., Bromm, V., Loeb, A., 2017, Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 464, 2963: 'Lyman α radiation hydrodynamics of galactic winds before cosmic reionization'

Smith, A., Bromm, V., Loeb, A., 2016, Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 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, Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 449, 4336: 'The Lyman α signature of the first galaxies'

Smith, A., Archidiacono, M., Cooray, A., De Bernardis, F., Melchiorri, A., Smidt, J., 2012, Phys. Rev. D, 85, 123521: 'Impact of assuming flatness in the determination of neutrino properties from cosmological data'

DCBH Science (1011x810)
A&G Cover (777x1099)

2017 — Cover story of the June issue of Astronomy & Geophysics

2017 — Image for the article "Observations hint at a new recipe for giant black holes" in Science Magazine

2016 — Press release about evidence for a direct collapse black hole in the Lyα source CR7 entitled "A New Kind of Black Hole, Once a Theory, Now Firmly within Observers' Sight": UT Austin, CfA, RAS, CBS, Forbes, Harvard Gazette, Science News (also for Students), space.com, Astronomy Magazine, Universe Today, UTA CNS

2016 — Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) in Monterey, CA and Santa Cruz, CA

2015 — NSF Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) with Avi Loeb at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

2014-2017 — NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recipient


Atomic Cooling Halo (915x315)


Images depict the environment around direct collapse black holes.