I have been working mainly in the field of Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics for more than a decade focusing on the formation and evolution of galaxies, groups and clusters of galaxies, and their interplay with the central supermassive black hole (SMBH). I am particularly keen to study the baryonic component and multiphase gaseous halos, which are key to current Astrophysics and Cosmology. I tackle the astrophysical problems from two major angles. On the one hand, I develop and carry out high-resolution (HR) 3D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations complemented by analytic models. The exponential advancement of the computational science has allowed us to study with unprecedented realism the baryon astrophysics. I devote myself to finding new physical models and principles which can explain the observed phenomena on a fundamental level and provide testable predictions. On the other hand, I am deeply involved in observational collaborations: I use simulations as controlled astrophysical experiments to accurately interpret the multiwavelength observations provided by the last/next-generation telescopes (as Chandra, XMM, Athena, ALMA, HST, Magellan, MUSE, Mustang-2). My research methods are supported by a strong knowledge of (astro)physics and computational science, allowing me to independently develop and apply diverse physical modules in state-of-the-art massively-parallel AMR (adaptive mesh refinement) codes.
The gaseous halos of cosmic structures can be considered as giant extended atmospheres shaped by thermo/hydrodynamical processes – in analogy to Earth weather. During the gravitational collapse in the potential well of hierarchically forming dark matter structures, the primordial gas is shock heated up to 10^7 K forming the plasma halo filling galaxies (10s kpc), groups (100s kpc), and clusters (a few Mpc; aka intracluster, intragroup, circumgalactic/intrahalo medium – ICM, IGrM, CGM). Deep multiwavelength observations have revealed the ubiquitous presence of condensing warm ionized gas (UV/optical), neutral gas (IR/21cm), and cold molecular gas (radio) out of the hot halos. The top-down multiphase condensation cascade has opened up the gate for the understanding of long-standing problems, since the condensed phase is both the by-product of the cooling process and the main fuel for SMBH accretion.
I currently lead the "BlackHoleWeather" program, which aims to unveil and unify the major processes involved in feeding and feedback of SMBHs over 10 orders of magnitude in space and time (see the Nature Astronomy review, Gaspari et al. 2020). The main areas tackled both from a numerical/theoretical and observational perspective are as follows (see also the right Figure).