Cameron Hummels

Contact information:
TAPIR 350-17
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. California Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91125-0001 USA
Fellowship status:
Starting year: 2015
Research Interests:

My research focuses on using computers to model the formation and evolution of galaxies in a cosmological context. I configure and run massive hydrodynamic simulations to represent large volumes of the universe while self-consistently simulating the dominant effects on these scales: gravity and gas dynamics. In particular, I look at how the tenuous gas surrounding galaxies, known as the circumgalactic medium, fuels or quenches star formation and ultimately affects the dynamics of the galaxy as a whole. Later, I post-process these datasets to analyze how they would appear with real observational instruments like the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.

Due to the strong computational component in my research, I actively contribute and develop several open-source software projects for use of the larger astrophysical community including the Enzo hydrodynamics code (, the yt analysis suite ( and the Trident synthetic spectral generation code (

Education and Outreach Interests:

I am actively engaged in promoting scientific education in our society through a number of different types of events. As the Director of Outreach for the Caltech Astronomy Department (, I have initiated a number of traditional events including a monthly public lecture and stargazing series and regular stargazing activities on the streets of Los Angeles. I've also assembled some non-conventional activities such as hosting the Los Angeles "Astronomy on Tap" chapter ( as well as "Science Train LA", where astronomers go on to public transit and offer to discuss science with other train patrons. It is my hope through these sorts of events that we can not only continue to provide educational activities to people already excited about science, but also reach the people in our society somewhat ambivalent about science as a whole.