Curriculum Vitae

A bit more about me:

I am a postdoctoral scholar (i.e., newly minted Ph.D.) in the Theoretical Astrophysics including Relativity group (TAPIR) here at Caltech, working with Dr. Phil Hopkins. My main work involves investigating emergent star formation laws on varying spatial scales in the Feedback in Realistic Environment (FIRE) simulations. This includes studying the dynamical states of the dust and gas in the simulations, and forward modeling observables like CO and CII.

At Caltech, I have developed a strong commitment to service, taking an active part in TAPIR, across the institute, and through public outreach events. For the past several years (as a graduate student here), I held roles at the Institute as the Chair of the Graduate Dean’s Advisory Committee (DAC), Chair of Strategic Communications & Publications on the Graduate Student Council (GSC), and served as a graduate representative to Caltech’s Board of Trustee’s on the Student Experience Committee.

In my capacity as chair of the DAC, I helped revise sections of the Caltech Catalogue on Graduate Student-Faculty Advisor guidelines, and brought graduate student concerns directly to the Graduate Dean regularly. As Strategic Communications chair of the GSC, I directed communications for our organization, including managing our social media presence and advertising of our programming. Within TAPIR, I like to think that I help bring people together through organizing our weekly TAPIR Tea Time. In addition to my personal scientific research, I believe these extracurricular endeavors to be extremely important in fostering a productive and positive research environment.

Outside of Caltech, I have involved myself with outreach activities, particularly with the Astronomy Outreach program, giving monthly public lectures and running more informal events through the Astro on Tap series. Additionally, I have taken an interest in getting science on the screen, and have acted as an on-set science consultant for CBS’ Strange Angel series.

I studied Physics, with a minor in Astronomy, at the University of Southern California. Over the course of my studies at USC, my interests shifted from a focus in spacecraft design and advanced concepts propulsion, to astrophysics and space physics, marking a shift from hands-on engineering to theoretical work.

My research has followed this thread, from my days in USC's Rocket Propulsion Lab building amateur rockets capable of producing several thousand pounds of thrust, to the Air Force Research Labs and advanced concepts solar thermal propulsion work, to observing at the Mt. Wilson Observatory and working modeling of dense molecular clouds with Drs. P.F. Goldsmith and J.L. Pineda at JPL. I have developed a background in experimental work, and observing, but have grown into a theoretician.

Below you will find my curriculum vitae, which, hopefully, will go further in describing in some detail my work, and experiences here at Caltech and at USC.

My CV:

Link to Open Curriculum Vitae in New Page, or Download.


First author works:

Orr, M.E., Hayward, C.C., Hopkins, P.F., et al. (2019). A Simple Non-equilibrium Feedback Model for Galaxy-scale Star Formation: Delayed Feedback and SFR Scatter. MNRAS 486, 4, 4724-4737 (DOI)
Orr, M.E., Hayward, C.C., Hopkins, P.F., et al. (2018). What FIREs Up Star Formation: the Emergence of the Kennicutt- Schmidt Law from Feedback. MNRAS 478, 3, 3653-3673 (DOI)
Orr, M.E., Hayward, C.C., Nelson, E.J., et al. (2017). Stacked Star Formation Rate Profiles of Bursty Galaxies Exhibit "Coherent" Star Formation, ApJ 849:L2 (DOI)
Orr, M.E., Pineda, J., & Goldsmith, P.F. (2014). Photon-Dominated Region Modeling of the [C I], [C II], and CO line emission from a boundary in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. ApJ, 795(1), 26-26. (DOI)

Talks and Posters

Invited Talks:

UC Santa Cruz IMPS Seminar – Santa Cruz, CA (February 2019)
Ohio State University CCAPP Colloquium – Columbus, OH (October 2018)

Contributed Talks:

AAS 2019 Winter Meeting (Dissertation Talk) – Seattle, WA (January 2019)
Galaxy Formation & Evolution in Southern California 2018 – Pasadena, CA (August 2018)
Santa Cruz Galaxy Workshop – Santa Cruz, CA (August 2018)
The Multi-scale Physics of Star Formation and Feedback – Heidelberg, Germany (June 2018)
AAS 2018 Summer Meeting - Denver, CO (June 2018)
Swinburne-CalTech Science Workshop 3 (SCTW3) - Pasadena, CA (September 2017)
Galaxy Formation & Evolution in Southern California 2017 (GalFRESCA17) - Pasadena, CA (August 2017)
Star Formation in Difference Environments 2017 (SFDE17) - Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh, Vietnam (August 2017)
The Local Truth: Star-Formation and Feedback in the SOFIA Era - Asilomar, CA (October 2016)
Galaxy Formation & Evolution in Southern California 2016 (GalFRESCA16) - Pasadena, CA (September 2016)
Theoretical Astrophysics in Southern California 2015 (TASC2015) - Fullerton, CA (November 2015)

Public Talks:

GCC Planetarium “A Conversation with the Stars” – Glendale, CA (April 2019)
Caltech Astronomy Outreach Lecture Series – Pasadena, CA (February 2018, Video Link)
Palomar Observatory Greenway Lecture Series – Palomar, CA (November 2017)


Orr, M.E. (2019). Gas Velocity Dispersions in the FIRE-2 Simulations: Gas Stability, Feedback, & Outflows. Linking the Milky Way and Nearby Galaxies. Helsinki, Finland. (Poster PDF)
Gilpin, M., Hilario, M., Orr, M.E. (2012). Phase-Change Thermal Energy Storage to Augment Solar Thermal Propulsion. USC Graduate Research Symposium. Los Angeles, CA. (Poster PDF)