Jamie Law-Smith

office: Nat Sci 2, 187


I am a third year PhD student in Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. I am currently working with Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz in high energy astrophysics theory, specifically on understanding tidal disruptions of stars by massive black holes.

I did my undergraduate at Harvard in Physics and Astrophysics. I did work in experimental particle physics on the Higgs to WW decay channel with Joao Guimaraes da Costa, and in cosmology on custering-mass/color relationships in SDSS galaxies with Daniel Eisenstein. Before starting my PhD, I backpacked and taught at a school in India for nine months.


Full list available here on ADS, or here on INSPIRE.
  1. Gallegos, M., Law-Smith, J., & Ramirez-Ruiz, E. (2018), Tidal Disruptions of Main-sequence Stars of Varying Mass and Age: Inferences from the Composition of the Fallback Material, ApJ, 857, 109
  2. Law-Smith, J., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Ellison, S.E., & Foley, R.J. (2017), Tidal Disruption Event Host Galaxies in the Context of the Local Galaxy Population, ApJ, 850, 22
  3. Law-Smith, J., MacLeod, M., Guillochon, J., Macias, P., & Ramirez-Ruiz, E. (2017), Low-mass White Dwarfs with Hydrogen Envelopes as a Missing Link in the Tidal Disruption Menu, ApJ, 841, 132
  4. Law-Smith, J. & Eisenstein, D. (2017), The Color and Stellar Mass Dependence of Small-scale Galaxy Clustering in SDSS-III BOSS, ApJ, 836, 87


PDF available here.


Tidal Disruptions

I am currently working with Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz at UC Santa Cruz on tidal disruption events, where a star wanders close enough to a massive black hole to be ripped apart by its tidal field. The movie above shows the disruption of a solar mass star by a million solar mass BH. I use (magneto)hydrodynamical simulations to explore the physics of disruption in the hope of better characterizing massive black holes and their environments. See papers above.

Galaxy Clustering in SDSS3

I worked with Daniel Eisenstein at Harvard to determine the relationship between color, mass and clustering in SDSS3 galaxies at z~0.6. Irrespective of color, we found that the clustering amplitude does not obey a simple power law relation with radius. Holding mass fixed, we found a clear differentiation between red and blue galaxies, showing that clustering is not solely determined by stellar mass. See this paper.

H->WW decay channel in Higgs analysis

I worked with Joao Guimaraes da Costa at Harvard and CERN on the Higgs to two W bosons decay channel of the Higgs during the year of its discovery. This is one of the trickier decay channels due to the large background of lookalike events. I presented some work to the collaboration that resulted in the removal of a cut in the analysis.