New Insights into Structure Formation
In the theory of structure formation, early density fluctuations in cold dark matter collapsed gravitationally to form dark matter halos; this dark matter structure provides the scaffolding in which galaxies form. This picture has described the observed universe phenomenally, but tensions remain in high-z galaxy populations, cosmological parameter measurements, and small-scale structures. My research program aims to resolve these problems with new tests on astrophysical scales that will be accessible due to the vast increase in data from new facilities (including JWST, Rubin, Euclid, and Roman) over the next decade. At high redshifts, wide surveys will allow us to measure the environments around galaxies and search for signatures of reionization physics. Simultaneously, large samples of galaxy clusters will enable novel constraints on cosmological parameters. Finally, on dwarf galaxy scales, we can learn about the particle nature of dark matter through a better understanding of subhalo populations. However, to perform these next-generation measurements, we require theoretical advances. In this talk, I will present new tools for tackling cosmological tensions using a combination of simulations, data, and physical insight.