Who am I?

I am a fourth-year graduate student in theoretical astrophyics at the California Institute of Technology, in the Theoretical Astrophysics including Relativity (TAPIR) Group. I study galaxy evolution and star formation in cosmological simulations as part of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project, with my Ph.D. advisor Dr. Phil Hopkins (Group Site).

I am interested in understanding star formation scaling relations and other observed galaxy-scale correlations, particularly through the lens of feedback regulation in galaxies. I use high-resolution zoom-in cosmological simulations to help "bridge the gap" between theory and the current, and next-generation, high spatial resolution galaxy surveys, by forward modeling observables like CO and CII.

I hail from Southern California, having grown up in the shadow of Caltech's NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in La Cañada Flintridge, CA. I studied Physics, and minored in Astronomy, during my undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California (USC), and completed a significant fraction of an Astronautical Engineering degree.

In addition to developing a healthy interest in astrophysics, at USC I got into amateur rocketry, joining and later leading the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (USCRPL), developing motors with more than 20,000 kN of thrust, a hobby which taught me that I could build anything with enough ingenuity.

Other research I have done includes three years of R&D towards a bimodal power and propulsion solar thermal latent heat energy storage system, making use of molten Boron, for the Air Force Research Labs' Advanced Concepts Propulsion Directorate, and a stint at the Mt. Wilson Sixty Foot Solar Observatory studying Solar sub-surface flows as well as exposing and developing photographic plates for the Mt. Wilson historical sunspot archive.

At Caltech, I have taken an active role in service across the Institute through student government, advisory committees, and departmental committments. As well, I have taken an interest in getting science on the screen, having acted as an on-set science consultant for CBS' Strange Angel television series.

-- Matt Orr, 2018.