#SoCaltech: Matthew Orr


"On one of my recent projects, I spent an hour or two at Copa Vida in Old Town Pasadena trying to work out how I thought a very specific part of the galaxy might regulate itself. I took my work back to campus when free parking was over, and I plotted it up on my laptop and compared it with real observations and the simulations our group runs, and, damn, if it didn't line right up. I was only tentatively extremely excited because, more than once, I had taken a plot to my adviser, and he'd look at it and say, 'Oh, this can't possibly be right.' So, I took some time to work through some little sanity checks before I brought it down the hall. As it turned out, it seemed to do all right at describing line-of-sight velocity dispersions, star formation rate, and star formation efficiency in galaxies, which is not something you wake up every day and do. To take a couple of lines of algebra and some intuition, and make some statements about how star factories in the universe work is, to me, pretty exciting."

Caltech magazine has launched #SoCaltech, a social media series designed to celebrate the diverse individuals who give Caltech its spirit of excellence, ambition, and ingenuity. Meet Matthew Orr, a fourth-year graduate student in the Theoretical Astrophysics Including Relativity and Cosmology (TAPIR) group. He also serves as strategic communications chair for Caltech's Graduate Student Council.