Mateusz Ruszkowski is a theoretical and computational astrophysicist who works to explain observed phenomena through simulations that both quantify and factor in multiple physical processes. He is well-known for his work describing how black holes at the center of galaxy clusters transfer energy to the diffuse gas in the intracluster medium (see below). He was among the first to move beyond purely hydrodynamical simulations of this process to incorporate magnetic fields, cosmic ray pressure, thermal conduction, and viscosity, resulting in more sophisticated models of the physics at play.
Provided the first numerical simulations explaining how sound waves produced by black hole outflows could resolve the so-called “cooling flow problem” in galaxy clusters. For many years, astronomers believed that because the diffuse gas within clusters was emitting radiation, it should cool and be drawn gravitationally to the cluster’s center, where it would collapse and result in bursts of star formation. When Chandra X-ray observations failed to detect this, astronomers deduced that outbursts from black holes, or feedback, was providing the energy needed to offset this effect. Ruszkowski was the first to show in detail how this might happen. His simulations show a process in which collimated jets from supermassive black holes plow through the intracluster medium, then slow and morph into buoyant bubbles that hold their shape with the help of rubber band-like magnetic fields. The inflating bubble generates sound waves, which heat the intracluster medium at a level that compensates for the energy lost through radiation.
Ram pressure stripping; Fermi bubbles; N-body cosmological simulations of cluster formation.
MA, University of Warsaw/Poland; PhD, University of Cambridge/England; Postdocs at University of Colorado at Boulder (Chandra Fellow) and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching/Germany.
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