Philip Mocz
Einstein Fellow at Princeton University

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About

I am a NASA Einstein Fellow at Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. I develop theory and high-performance simulations to study structure formation on scales from cosmology to star formation. I am at the forefront of research in fuzzy dark matter, which has seen considerably growing interest in the physics and astronomy communities over the last few years. The near-century-old dark matter problem is one of the most intriguing mysteries in modern physics: we do not know the nature of 84 percent of matter in the Universe, yet it is thought to govern cosmic structure and hold galaxies together. Ultralight (fuzzy) dark matter is a promising candidate, and I have created the first cosmological simulations of this type of dark matter fully coupled to baryonic physics. With my work, I can learn about the behavior of the theory and predict how future missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope could reveal the nature of the elusive dark matter particle. A second active research area of mine is the study of turbulent, self-gravitating systems. The theory of compressive turbulence lags behind the study of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations. I work on developing it to gain physical insight into long-standing open problems, such as the inefficiency of star formation and the fundamental nature of turbulence.

I also develop a variety of new robust, high-performance methods for computational physics. My PhD thesis was completed at Harvard University with my advisor Lars Hernquist on moving mesh magnetohydrodynamics and applications to cosmology and star formation. As part of that work, I invented a new accurate method for solving the magnetohydrodynamic equations on a moving-mesh in the Arepo code. The method preserves mass, momentum, energy, the divergence-free property of the magnetic fields, and Galilean-invariance (exact advection).

I have broad interests in cosmology, galaxy evolution and feedback, black hole physics, structure formation, turbulence in the ISM, alternative theories of dark matter (fuzzy dark matter), numerical methods, computer visualization, and applications of machine learning and computer vision to astronomy.

I grew up in Hawaii and I love the outdoors.

CV

Download my curriculum vitae (CV) [.pdf]

Publications

A complete record of my publications can be found using the searches below:

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Selected Recent Papers Subscribe to What's New

Galaxy Formation with BECDM - II. Cosmic Filaments and First Galaxies
Mocz, P.; Fialkov, A.; Vogelsberger, M.; Becerra, F.; Shen, X.; Robles, V.H.; Amin, M.A.; Zavala, J.; Boylan-Kolchin, M.; Bose, S.; Marinacci, F.; Chavanis, P.H.; Lancaster, K.; Hernquist, L.; 2019 MNRAS, submitted

First star-forming structures in fuzzy cosmic filaments
Mocz, P.; Fialkov A.; Vogelsberger, M.; Becerra, F.; Amin, M.A.; Bose, S.; Boylan-Kolchin, M.; Chavanis, P.H.; Hernquist, L.; Lancaster, L.; Marinacci, M.; Robles, V.H.; Zavala, J; 2019 Phys. Rev. Lett. (Editors' Selection) 123, 14

Fuzzy Dark Matter Soliton Cores around Supermassive Black Holes
Davies, E.Y.; Mocz, P.; 2019 MNRAS, 492, 5721

A Markov model for non-lognormal density distributions in compressive isothermal turbulence
Mocz, P.; Burkhart, B.; 2019 ApJL, 884, 2

Formation, Gravitational Clustering and Interactions of Non-relativistic Solitons in an Expanding Universe
Amin, M.; Mocz, P.; 2019 Phys. Rev. D, 100, 6

Heating of Milky Way disc stars by dark matter fluctuations in cold dark matter and fuzzy dark matter paradigms
Church, B.; Mocz, P.; Ostriker, J.P.; 2019 MNRAS, 485, 2861

Star formation from dense shocked regions in supersonic isothermal magnetoturbulence
Mocz, P.; Burkhart, B.; 2018 MNRAS, 480, 3916

On the Schrodinger-Poisson--Vlasov-Poisson correspondence
Mocz, P.; Lancaster, L.; Fialkov A.; Becerra, F.; Chavanis, P.H.; 2018 PhRvD, 97, 3519

Galaxy Formation with BECDM - I. Turbulence and relaxation of idealised haloes
Mocz, P.; Vogelsberger, M.; Robles, V.; Zavala J.; Boylan-Kolchin, M.; Fialkov A.; Hernquist, L.; 2017 MNRAS, 471, 4559

Moving mesh simulations of star forming cores in magneto-gravo-turbulence
Mocz, P.; Burkhart, B.; Hernquist, L.; McKee, C.; Springel, V.; 2017 ApJ, 838, 1

Research

Selected highlights from my papers ...

How Dark Matter shapes First Galaxies

and how to tell if dark matter is fuzzy, warm, or cold

Turbulence Markov Model

to describe non-lognormal density distributions

Dynamical Friction

in fuzzy dark matter

Supersonic turbulence

dense structures in compressible turbulence

Solitons from early universe scalar fields

formation, gravitational clustering and interactions of solitons

Schrödinger to Vlasov

emergence of classical behavior from quantum mechanics

Axion Dark Matter

quantum turbulent properties

Star Formation

in magneto-gravo-turbulence

Primordial Magnetic Fields

in cosmological settings

Integer Lattice

for Vlasov-Poisson (6D)

Tidal Disruption Events

simulations

Moving Mesh Vector Potential CTA

for MHD

Quantum SPH

for the non-linear Schrödinger equations

Constrained Transport for MHD

on unstructured and moving meshes

Discontinuous Galerkin

on moving meshes

Tully-Fisher

for 25,000 galaxies as function of environment

Supermassive Black Holes

cosmological growth and feedback

Inverse-Compton Ghosts

powerful double-lobed radio galaxies switched off

X-ray Winds

ionization structure of Seyfert 2 galaxy IRAS 18325-5926 with Chandra

People

Collaborators and students

(beta... Click button. It may take a few seconds to render. Interactive!)
connections in graph indicate co-authorships in papers I led


Mustafa A. Amin
Rice

Fernando Becerra
Harvard

Katherine Blundell
Oxford

Sownak Bose
Harvard

Mike Boylan-Kolchin
UT Austin

Blakesley Burkhart
Rutgers/CCA

Pierre-Henri Chavanis
Toulouse

Pierre Christian
U. Arizona

Ben Church
Columbia

Elliot Davies
Princeton

Andy Fabian
Cambridge

Anastasia Fialkov
Cambridge

Shy Genel
Flatiron

Cara Giovanetti
Princeton

Josep Miquel Girart
CSIC

Karl Glazebrook
Swinburne

Alyssa Goodman
Harvard

Andy Green
AAO

Lars Hernquist
Harvard

Chat Hull
NAOJ

Yoni Kahn
Illinois

Rahul Kannan
Harvard

Shih-Ping Lai
Tsing Hua

Lachlan Lancaster
Princeton

Julia Lee
Harvard

Mariangela Lisanti
Princeton

Avi Loeb
Harvard

Max Malacari
KICP

Federico Marinacci
Bologna

Chris McKee
Berkeley

Diego Munoz
Northwestern

Jerry Ostriker
Columbia

Rudiger Pakmor
MPA-Garching

Victor Robles
Yale

Kevin Schaal
HITS

Xuejian Shen
Caltech

Debora Sijacki
Cambridge

David Spergel
Flatiron

Volker Springel
MPA-Garching

Sauro Succi
Harvard/IIT

Mark Vogelsberger
MIT

Jesus Zavala
Iceland

Teaching

List of courses at Harvard for which I have served as a Teaching Fellow:

  • Astronomy 151. Astronomical Fluid Dynamics. Spring 2016
  • Applied Computation 274. Computational Fluid Dynamics. Fall 2014
  • Applied Computation 274. Computational Fluid Dynamics. Spring 2014
  • Applied Mathematics 205. Advanced Scientific Computing: Numerical Methods. Fall 2012

Outreach

List and links to selected outreach activities

Miscellaneous

A list of software projects, interactive modules, tutorials, mini science investigations ...

  • April Fools Day arXiv Papers

    Check out the collection at http://april1arxiv.github.io/

  • GPU Volume Rendering

    PAVOREAL (PArellel VOlume REndering ALgorithm) on GPUs

  • Interactive Mathematica Module on Shocks

    Explore the shock structure in the Euler and MHD Riemann problems

  • Cosmic-Ray Pressure MHD Instability

    Paper on my simulations of a cosmic-ray pressure gradient instability in a turbulent MHD environment at a shock interface, as part of my project for Astronomy 253 (plasma physics). Read the report (.pdf) and download the Matlab code

  • Bayesian Nested Sampling

    Bayesian nested sampling fitting of exoplanet radial velocity curve with 2 planets

  • SPH for Stellar Structure

    A simple introduction (.pdf) to smoothed-particle hydrodynamics (SPH), if you ever wanted to code your own!

Contact

Philip Mocz

Einstein Fellow

pmocz@astro.princeton.edu

ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-6631-2566

  • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
  • Princeton University
  • 4 Ivy Lane
  • Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
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