Han Aung’s PhD in the Department of Physics at Yale University studied the connection of the properties of dark matter halos and galaxies to the surrounding cosmic web structures in order to advance cosmology and astrophysics. For his postdoctoral work at the Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science in the Racah Institute of Physics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he uses skills developed during his doctoral research in advanced numerical codes to facilitate two different kinds of computer-simulated ways to examine aspects of galaxy formation: cosmological and idealized.
Scientists believe that the universe consists of a “cosmic web” made of enormous, tenuous filaments of gas stretching between gigantic clumps of matter. Under certain conditions, galaxies accrete cold gas streams through these filaments, providing the fuel for star formation. Dr. Aung uses idealized simulations to study the properties and evolution of these cold gas streams, which are embedded within hot gas from what is called the “halo” surrounding the Milky Way, and to assess different kinds of instabilities that they suffer. He uses cosmological simulation to analyze how the gas accreted through the streams affects the gas surrounding galaxies, known as the circumgalactic medium (CGM), especially properties such as star formation, clump formation, and turbulence.
While teaching an introductory course in cosmology, Dr. Aung co-organized a weekly Yale Cosmology meeting as a complement to the course, introducing students to advanced topics in current cosmology research. Also as a teaching fellow, he helped create a syllabus to move the standard “Measurement in Physics” lab online during the pandemic.