Amanda Quirk

Contact

acquirk@ucsc.edu

office: ISB 355

Image credit: Robert Gendler

Bio

I am a second year graduate student working with Puragra Guha Thakurta on the kinematics of stars and gas in the Andromeda galaxy and in the Triangulum galaxy.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in astrophysics from Columbia University in 2017. There I worked with Dr. Jeremiah Ostriker and Dr. Ena Choi on galaxy evolution. We used zoom-in hydrodynamical simulations to study the effects of supernova feedback on low mass stellar halos and dark matter halos.

I also am an advocate for individuals with disabilities and am working on increasing awareness and accessibility in the department.

CV

click here!

Research

I am using HST data from the PHAT survey and spectroscopy from Keck/DEIMOS in the SPLASH survey to study asymmetric drift as a function of stellar age in M31’s disk. I find that asymmetric drift increases with stellar age, which reflects the violent and continuous merger history that M31 is believed to have had. The figure below shows how radial velocity and velocity dispersion changes with stellar age.

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Thanks to a successful observing run in the Fall of 2018, I aim to do a comparison study in M33.

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With Dr. Ostriker and Dr. Choi, I analyzed dark matter halos in zoom-in hydrodyamical cosmological simulations. Specifically I examined dark matter subhalos that were void of significant stellar and gas mass at redshift zero. The video below shows the evolution of one of these “dark subhalos,” during which they experience supernova feedback in the form of momentum driven winds.

Outreach

I am involved in several outreach organizations in Santa Cruz. As a member of WiPA (Women in Physics and Astronomy) and SPS (Society of Physics Students), I mentor undergraduate students at UCSC about how to navigate courses, research, and life after undergrad. I am also the liaison between WiPA and WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) and help coordinate outreach events. WiSE works with grade school students to engage them in science at an early age. As seen in the picture below, we conducted a strawberry DNA extraction with fifth graders at Elkhorn Elementary. I also am a volunteer teacher at the Santa Cruz County Jail systems. There I teach astronomy and pre-algebra to inmates for college credit.

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I think the most important role of scientists is to be able to convey information to the public. Thus, I am committed to increasing both intellectual and physical accessibility in science.  I am a graduate student assistant at UCSC’s Disability Research Center, where I am creating campaigns and community programs for students who identify as having a disability. Through this role, I created and run the Graduate Disability Community Group. I am also the PI of an Osterbrock Leadership Program-sponsored grant to create a workshop for on accessible teaching and classroom practices. 

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Publications

Nebular Spectroscopy of Kepler's Brightest Supernova: G. Dimitriadis, C. Rojas-Bravo, C. D. Kilpatrick, 

    R. J. Foley, A. L. Piro, J. S. Brown, P. Guhathakurta, A. C. N. Quirk , A. Rest, G. M. Strampelli, B. E. 

    Tucker, and A. Villar 2018 – accepted to ApJL (arXiv:1812.00097

Asymmetric Drift in M31: A. C. N. Quirk, P. Guhathakurta, L. Chemin, et al. 2018 – ApJ  vol 871

    (arXiv: 1811.07037

Mergers in the Illustris Simulation: G. F. Snyder, V. Rodriguez-Gomez , J. M. Lotz, Paul Torrey, A. C. N.     

        Quirk, L. Hernquist, M. Vogelsberger, P. E. Freeman 2018 – submitted (arXiv:1809.02136)