Mac Low, Mordecai-Mark main content.

Mordecai-Mark Mac Low

Photograph of Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, curator, Department of Astrophysics

Curator, Department of Astrophysics, Division of Physical Sciences, Computational Sciences
Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Phone:
212-496-3443
Fax:
212-769-5007

Education

  • University of Colorado at Boulder, Ph.D., 1989
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, M.A., 1985
  • Princeton University, A.B., 1983

Research Interests

Dr. Mac Low's work focuses on understanding the formation of planets, stars, and galaxies. Working with students and colleagues, he has developed numerical models at different physical scales to attack these problems. At the smallest scales, he is studying the formation in protoplanetary disks of the millimeter-sized glassy beads known as chondrules that form half the mass of the most primitive Solar System meteorites. Still within these disks, he studies the formation of planetesimals from rocks, and the migration of planets through the gas disk. At scales of less than one light year, he has simulated the behavior of self-gravitating, supersonic, magnetized turbulence to understand the formation of the dense cloud cores in which protostars are observed, and has modeled the expansion of ionized regions in such turbulence.  At scales of hundreds to thousands of light years, he is studying the influence of multiple supernova explosions on the interstellar gas, and how clouds of star-forming molecular gas form.  Finally, at the galactic scale of tens of thousands of light years, he studies the large-scale formation of stars in galaxies. 

Dr. Mac Low serves as an advisor for the HPC facilities development and expansion. His research group relies on computational modeling using gas dynamical and magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) simulations to study the formation of planets, and stars, and the structure of the interstellar gas, with applications to galactic winds and galaxy formation.

Publications

“Star Formation at Very Low Metallicity. IV. Fragmentation Does Not Depend on Metallicity for Cold Initial Conditions," Jappsen, A.-K., Klessen, R. S., Glover, S. C. O., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astrophys. J., 696, 1065-1074.

“Star Formation at Very Low Metallicity. V. The greater importance of initial conditions compared to metallicity thresholds," Jappsen, A.-K., Mac Low, M.-M., Glover, S. C. O., & Klessen, R. S. 2009, Astrophys. J., 694, 1161-1170.

“What is Driving the H i Velocity Dispersion?" Tamburro, D., Rix, H. W., Leroy, A. K., Mac Low, M.-M., Walter, F., Kennicutt, R. C., Brinks, E., & de Blok, W. J. G. 2009, Astron. J., 4424-4435. 

“Tuned Finite-Difference Diffusion Operators," Maron, J., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astrophys. J. Suppl., 182, 468-473.

“The Origin and Kinematics of Cold Gas in Galactic Winds: Insight from Numerical Simulations," Fujita, A., Martin, C. L., Mac Low, M.-M., Weaver, R., & New, K. C. B. 2009, Astrophys. J., 698, 693-714.

“Type-Ia Supernova-driven Galactic Bulge Wind," Tang, S., Wang, Q. D., Mac Low, M.-M., & Joung, M. R. 2009, Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 398, 1468-1482. 

“Turbulent Driving Scales in Molecular Clouds," Brunt, C. M., Heyer, M. H., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astron. Astrophys., 504, 883-890.

“Dependence of Interstellar Turbulent Pressure on Supernova Rate," Joung, M. R., Mac Low, M.-M., & Bryan, G. L. 2009, Astrophys. J., 704, 137-149. 

“On Hydrodynamic Motions in Dead Zones," Oishi, J. S., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astrophys. J., 704, 1239-1250. 

“Particle Clumping and Planetesimal Formation Depend Strongly on Metallicity," Johansen, A., Youdin, A., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astrophys. J. (Letters), 704, L75-L79.

“Planetesimal and Protoplanet Dynamics in a Turbulent Protoplanetary Disk: Ideal Unstratified Disks," Yang, C.-C., Mac Low, M.-M., & Menou, K. 2009, Astrophys. J., 707, 1233-1246.

“Algorithmic comparisons of decaying, isothermal, compressible turbulence. I. Low-resolution simulations with fixed grids," Kitsionas, S., Klessen, R. S., Federrath, C., Schmidt, W., Price, D., Dursi, J., Gritschneder, M., Walch, S., Piontek, R., Kim, J., Jappsen, A.-K., Ciecielag, P. & Mac Low, M.-M. 2009, Astron. Astrophys., 508, 541-560.

“H ii regions: Witnesses to massive star formation," Peters, T., Klessen, R. S., Banerjee, R., Mac Low, M.-M., Galván-Madrid, R., & Keto, E. 2010, Astrophys. J., 711, 1017-1028.

“Modelling CO formation in the turbulent interstellar medium," Glover, S. C. O., Federrath, C., Mac Low, M.-M., & Klessen, R. S. 2010, Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 404, 2-29. 

“Comparing the statistics of interstellar turbulence in simulations and observations: Solenoidal versus compressive turbulence forcing," Federrath, C., Roman-Duval, J., Klessen, R. S., Schmidt, W., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2010, Astron. Astrophys., 512, A81 (28 pp.).

“Orbital migration of low-mass planets in evolutionary radiative models: Avoiding catastrophic infall," Lyra, W., Paardekooper, S.-J., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2010, Astrophys. J. (Letters), 715, L68-L73. 

“Understanding Spatial and Spectral Morphologies of Ultracompact H ii Regions," Peters, T. P., Mac Low, M.-M., Banerjee, R., Klessen, R. S., & Dullemond, C. 2010, Astrophys. J., 719, 831-843 (erratum: 720, 1782).

“Photoionization of High Altitude Gas in a Supernova Driven Turbulent Interstellar Medium," Wood, K., Hill, A. S., Joung, M. R., Mac Low, M.-M., Benjamin, R. A., Haffner, L. M., Reynolds, R. J., & Madsen, G. J. 2010, Astrophys. J., 721, 1397-1403.

“The Origin of the Hot Gas in the Galactic Halo: Confronting Models with XMM-Newton Observations," Henley, D. B., Shelton, R. L., Kwak, K., Joung, M. R., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2010, Astrophys. J., 723, 935-953.

“Limiting Accretion onto Massive Stars by Fragmentation-Induced Starvation," Peters, T., Klessen, R. S., Mac Low, M.-M., & Banerjee, R. 2010, Astrophys. J., 725, 134-145.

“The Interplay of Magnetic Fields, Fragmentation and Ionization Feedback in High-Mass Star Formation," Peters, T., Banerjee, R., Klessen, R. S., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2011, Astrophys. J., 729, 72 (12 pp.)

“On the ∂-Formalism for the Common Envelope Interaction," De Marco, O., Passy, J.-C., Moe, M., Herwig, F., Mac Low, M.-M., & Paxton, B. 2011, Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 411, 2277-2292.

“On the Relationship Between Molecular Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide Abundances in Molecular Clouds," Glover, S. C. O., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2011, Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 412, 337-350.

“An Introduction to the Chandra Carina Complex Project," Townsley, L. K. et al. (Mac Low is author 21/33.) 2011, Astrophys. J. Supp., 194, 1 (28 pp).

“The Chandra Carina Complex Project: Deciphering the Enigma of Carinas Diffuse X-Ray Emission," Townsley, L. K., Broos, P. S., Chu, Y.-H., Gagné, M., Garmire, G. P., Gruendl, R. A., Hamaguchi, K., Mac Low, M.-M., Montmerle, T. Nazé, Y., Oey, M. S., Parka, S., Petre, R., & Pittard, J. M. 2011, Astrophys. J. Supp., 194, 15 (23 pp).

“Time variability in simulated ultracompact and hypercompact HII regions," 2011, Galván-Madrid, R., Peters, T., Keto, E. R., Mac Low, M.-M., Banerjee, R., & Klessen, R. S. Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 416, 1033-1044.

“Magnetorotational Turbulence Transports Angular Momentum in Stratified Disks with Low Magnetic Prandtl Number but Magnetic Reynolds Number above a Critical Value," 2011, Oishi, J. S., & Mac Low, M.-M. Astrophys. J., 740, 18 (11 pp.). 

“Simulating the Common Envelope Phase of a Red Giant Using SPH and Uniform Grid Codes," 2012, Passy, J.-C., De Marco, O. Fryer, C., Herwig, F., Diehl, S., Oishi, J., Mac Low, M.-M., Bryan, G., & Rockefeller, G. Astrophys. J., 744, 52 (17 pp). 

“The Abundance of Molecular Hydrogen and its Correlation with Midplane Pressure in Galaxies: Non-Equilibrium, Turbulent, Chemical Models," 2012, Mac Low, M.-M. & Glover, S. C. O. Astrophys. J., 746, 135 (8 pp).

“Planetesimal and Protoplanet Dynamics in a Turbulent Protoplanetary Disk: Ideal Stratified Disks," 2012, Yang, C.-C., Mac Low, M.-M., & Menou, K. Astrophys. J., 748, 79 (16 pp).

“Orbital migration of interacting low-mass planets in evolutionary radiative turbulent models," Horn, R. B., Lyra, W., Sándor, Z., & Mac Low, M.-M., 2012, Astrophys. J., 750, 34 (14 pp) . 

“Vertical structure of a supernova-driven turbulent, magnetized interstellar medium," 2012, Hill, A. S., Joung, M. R., Mac Low, M.-M., Benjamin, R. A., Haffner, L. M., Klingenberg, C., & Waagan, K. Astrophys. J., 750, 104 (19 pp). (Erratum: 761, 189) 

“Phurbas: An Adaptive, Lagrangian, Meshless, Magnetohydrodynamics Code. I. Algorithm," Maron, J., McNally, C. P., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2012, Astrophys. J. Suppl., 200, 6 (14 pp).

“Phurbas: An Adaptive, Lagrangian, Meshless, Magnetohydrodynamics Code. II. Implementation and Tests," McNally, C. P., Maron, J., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2012, Astrophys. J. Suppl., 200, 7 (13 pp).

“Rossby wave instability at dead zone boundaries in 3D resistive magnetohydrodynamical global models of protoplanetary disks," Lyra, W., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2012, Astrophys. J., 756, 62 (10 pp). 

“On the survival of brown dwarfs and planets engulfed by their giant host star," Passy, J.-C., Mac Low, M.-M., & De Marco, O. 2012, Astrophys. J. (Letters), 759, L30 (5 pp).

“Are Molecular Outflows Around High-Mass Stars Driven By Ionization Feedback?" Peters, T., Klaassen, P. D., Mac Low, M.-M., Klessen, R. S., & Banerjee, R. 2012, Astron. Astrophys., 760, 91 (8 pp).

“Short circuits in thermally ionized plasmas: protoplanetary disks and chondrules," Hubbard, A., McNally, C. P., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2012, Astrophys. J., 761, 58 (10 pp). 

“Mineral Processing by Short Circuits in Protoplanetary Disks," McNally, C. P., Hubbard, A., Mac Low, M.-M., Ebel, D., & D'Alessio, P. 2013, Astrophys. J. (Letters), 767, L2 (6 pp).

“Dynamical Fragmentation of the T Pyxidis Nova Shell During Recurrent Eruptions," Toraskar, J., Mac Low, M.-M., Shara, M. M., & Zurek, D. R. 2013, Astrophys. J., 768, 48 (11 pp).

“The effect of feedback and reionization on star formation in low-mass dwarf galaxy haloes," Simpson, C. M., Bryan, G. L., Johnston, K. V., Smith, B. D., Mac Low, M.-M., Sharma, S., & Tumlinson, J. 2013, Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc., 432, 1989-2011. 

“From Gas to Stars Over Cosmic Time," Mac Low, M.-M. 2013, Science, 340, 1229229 (8 pp).

“Flickering of 1.3 cm Sources in Sgr B2: Towards a Solution to the Ultracompact H ii Region Lifetime Problem," De Pree, C. G., Peters, T., Mac Low, M.-M., Wilner, D. J., Goss W. M., Galván-Madrid, R., Keto, E. R., Heath, J., Monsrud, A., & Klessen, R. S. 2014, Astrophys. J. (Letters), 781, L36 (4 pp).

“Collective outflow from a small multiple stellar system," Peters, T., Klaassen, P., Mac Low, M.-M., Schrön, M., Federrath, C., Smith, M. D., & Klessen, R. S. 2014, Astrophys. J., submitted.

“Temperature Fluctuations driven by Magnetorotational Instability in Protoplanetary Disks," McNally, C., Hubbard, A., Yang, C.-C., & Mac Low, M.-M. 2014, Astrophys. J., submitted.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Experience

Faculty Appointments

  • AMNH Masters of Arts in Teaching Program
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, 2007-Present
  • Visiting Research Professor, Department of Physics, Drexel University, 2012-present

Courses Taught

  • Interstellar Medium and Star Formation, Graduate Course, Columbia University, Spring 2002
  • Space Systems, Master of Arts in Teaching Program, Fall 2012, Winter 2013

Graduate Advisees

  • Colin McNally, Columbia University
  • Christine Simpson, co-advisor, Columbia University
  • Jeffrey Oishi, University of Virginia at Charlottesville
  • Moo Kwang Ryan Joung, Columbia University
  • Yuexing Li, Columbia University
  • Akimi Fujita, Columbia University
  • Guillermo Garcia-Segura, University of La Laguna (Canary Islands, Spain)
  • Chao-Chin Yang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate Committees

  • Colin McNally, Columbia U. (chair) 
  • Nick Stroud, Teachers College, Columbia U. 
  • Christine Simpson, Columbia U. (cochair) 
  • Andreas Svedin, Columbia U. 
  • Destry Saul, Columbia U. 
  • Munier Salem, Columbia U.
  • Rachel Connolly, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
  • Jeffrey Oishi, University of Virginia at Charlottesville (chair)
  • Moo Kwang Ryan Joung, Columbia University (chair)
  • Yuexing Li, Columbia University (chair)
  • Akimi Fujita, Columbia University (chair)
  • Shikui Tang, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Chao-Chin Yang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (chair)

External Links