The National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program recognizes junior faculty who conduct outstanding research, are excellent educators and include education or community outreach in their work.
Wetzel designs supercomputer simulations that model how galaxies like the Milky Way form. The models recreate processes important in galaxy simulation, and also produce synthetic observations for comparison with real-world data. His current interests center on dwarf galaxies outside the Milky Way and star clusters in the Milky Way disk. His new simulations will be able to model the Milky Way’s billions of stars down to these tiny dwarf galaxies.
The models Wetzel works on are freely available for public use, and with support from the CAREER grant he plans to develop user-friendly tutorials for anyone interested in analyzing cutting-edge galaxy simulations.