David Cole

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David Cole


My research focuses on the way in which baryons and dark matter interact during the formation and evolution of galaxies. This includes the way in which the baryonic components of galaxies affect the distribution of dark matter in galaxies and how the dark matter affects the dynamical evolution of the stellar comments such as the discs and bar.

Currently I am developing the code for and building dynamically self-consistent models of our Milky Way based on distribution function (DF) modelling to compare to the unprecedented amounts of data from new large surveys such as data from the Gaia satellite. When building models of the Milky Way to compare to observations we need to be take account of the equations of motion of the stars, gas , dark matter etc. N-body models which contain millions of particles can do this but are computationally expensive and it is hard to create a detailed fit to the data. Distribution function models create probability density functions for particles which are analytic function of three constants of orbital motion, actions Ji. They have of order of 10s of parameters related to properties of population e.g. the scale length of the disc. I have DFs for each component such as the thin disc, the thick disc and the dark halo which I then bring together to be consistent with observation of the Milky Way's rotation curve, vertical structure and kinematics and see what this tells is about the mass distribution of each component.

A poster describing my work in more detail is attached to this page.