Globular clusters are dense stellar systems that contain hundreds of thousands to millions of stars. They are found in large quantities in galaxies of all types. Indeed, they are the most ancient and best fossil records we have for probing the evolution history of galaxies. One important tool for such analysis is the globular cluster mass function (GCMF) of individual galaxies - essentially a census of the current globular cluster population of a galaxy. Complicating this census is that a globular cluster can be modified or even dissolved completely by the actions of the environment in which it resides - thus the present day GCMF will not reflect the true GCMF throughout the evolution history of the host galaxy. My PhD program aims to utilise numerical simulations of globular clusters evolving in a range of realistic galaxy environments to unearth the true GCMF as a function of host galaxy type.
The primary tool will be an N -body code called NBODY6 that is ideal for modelling globular cluster evolution in detail. Simulations with NBODY6 will be performed on the new Swinburne supercomputer (g2: gSTAR/swinSTAR) to take advantage of the speed-up offered by graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware.
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