Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jeremy Wayland L&S Sciences

Observing Jet Simulations of Sgr A* and 3C 279

The central engine of an active galaxy is a mysterious place. Simulations and physical theories have melded general relativity, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism to hypothesize the prescription of particle acceleration and jet accretion in active galactic nuclei (AGN). These complex environments surrounding the black hole may launch relativistic jets that radiate the greatest energy output of any known astrophysical source. Their influence on galaxy and star formation is undeniable, and yet these systems are not yet well understood. There remains a gap between theory and observation. My project attempts to bridge this gap and put forth a more cohesive and prescriptive understanding of two AGN with a plethora of observational signatures: 3C 279 and Sgr A* (our galactic center). I will develop a program to observe pre-existing GRMHD (general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic) simulations data via synchrotron and Inverse Compton radiation models. By converting these theoretically generated observations into light curves, intensity maps, and other presentations of data, this pipeline has the potential to uncover information about the radiative processes at work in these sources.

Message To Sponsor

To the McKinley Foundation: Thank you so much for allowing me to pursue this project. I have learned so much about radiative processes, computer programming, and jet accretion black hole systems, and it wouldn't have been possible without your gracious donation. As well as progressing academically, I was also able to learn about myself and take strides towards my future. I became aware of the depth and intrigue that the world of academia has to offer. This experience, particularly the SURF conference, made me realize that my true interests and passions lie in interdisciplinary fields that are ripe for new insights and application in the real world. This project has given me confidence in my future. It has assured me that no matter what I choose to study, as long as I follow a path of inspiration, even topics like pure math, astrophysics, or music can be weaved into my career path and help define my success. Once again, thank you so much for giving me this incredible opportunity.
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Major: Mathematics and Astrophysics
Mentor: Dr. Richard Anantua
Sponsor: McKinley Fund
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