Xiangcheng Ma

TAC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
Galaxy Formation and Evolution

May 1, 2021

Welcome to Xiangcheng Ma's Page

Since August 2018, I am a Theoretical Astrophysics Center (TAC) postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy at UC Berkeley, working primarily with Prof. Eliot Quataert. I received my Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics from Caltech in June 2018, advised by Prof. Phil Hopkins.

New: I will join the Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA) at Peking University as a tenure-track assistant professor in fall 2022. They offer multiple postdoctoral fellowships -- please check out here if you are interested in working with us. Prior to that, I will spend one year at Steward Observatory as a theory prize fellow.

I have been an active member of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) collaboration. I carry out massive hydrodynamic simulations and Monte Carlo radiative transfer calculations on big supercomputers to study a broad range of topics in galaxy formation, the interstellar medium, star formation, feedback, and supermassive black holes. I have the fortune to work closely with many great people, both theorists and observers, inside and outside the FIRE team.

Click here to see more details about my research.
Curriculum vitae with bibliography (pdf)
See the ADS library here for a list of my publications.

I was born and raised in Tianjin, a major city in China next to its capital, Beijing, and known as the capital of humor. I was an undergraduate student in astronomy from August 2009 to June 2013 at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC, in Hefei, Anhui province) before coming to Caltech for graduate study.

Galactic chemical evolution

I have carried out a series of studies on galactic chemical evolution using the FIRE cosmological simulations.

Galaxy formation in the reionization era

I develop a suite of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of galaxies at the reionization epoch, taking advantage of the realistic FIRE models.

Bursty star formation and disk settling

Collaborators and I show that dwarf and high-z galaxies exhibit "bursty" star formation. We explore when and why rotationally supported gas disks form.

Lyman-continuum & Lyman-alpha escape fractions

I study the escape fraction of Lyman-continuum and Lyman-alpha photons from high-redshift galaxies, and their contribution to cosmic reionization.

Resolving gobular cluster formation in simulations

I run the first cosmological simulations that explicitly resolve the formation of proto-globular clusters.

Supermassive black hole growth at high redshift

Collaborators and I argue that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) cannot grow efficiently at early times when the galaxies are bursty. I show this is because galactic nuclei grow stellar mass by merging massive star clusters rather than in situ star formation.