office: Nat Sci 2, 187
I am a third year PhD student in Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. I am interested in high energy astrophysics theory, and am currently working with Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz to better understand tidal disruptions of stars by massive black holes.
I graduated from Harvard in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in Physics & Astrophysics. There I worked in particle physics on the Higgs to WW decay channel at CERN with Joao Guimaraes da Costa, and then in cosmology on custering-mass/color relationships in SDSS galaxies with Daniel Eisenstein. I took a gap year before starting at Santa Cruz to backpack and teach.
Full list available here on ADS, or here on INSPIRE.
- 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
- 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
- Law-Smith, J. & Eisenstein, D. (2017), The Color and Stellar Mass Dependence of Small-scale Galaxy Clustering in SDSS-III BOSS, ApJ, 836, 87
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. I use (magneto)hydrodynamical simulations to explore the physics of disruption in the hope of better characterizing massive black holes and their environments. [See this paper on the tidal disruption menu and helium white dwarfs, and this paper on the host galaxies of tidal disruptions.]
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.