Jamie Alexander Powell Law-Smith


Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of California Santa Cruz
1156 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA


Office: ISB 157

Research interests

Black holes, tidal disruption events, common envelope evolution, gravitational wave sources, extragalactic astronomy, active galactic nuclei, vacuum decay, de Sitter space in string theory


UC Santa Cruz, Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2015-2021 (expected)

Harvard University, A.B. in Physics, Astrophysics (double), 2010-2014


I am a PhD student in Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. I am interested in a variety of problems in theoretical astrophysics and physics, including tidal disruptions of stars by black holes, common envelope evolution in the context of GW sources, accretion onto neutron stars in a dense medium, the structure of AGN disks with embedded stars, vacuum decay, and de Sitter space in string theory.

I did my undergraduate at Harvard in Physics and Astrophysics. There I did work in experimental particle physics on the Higgs to WW decay channel for ATLAS, and in cosmology on clustering-mass/color relationships in SDSS galaxies and on resolving excess large-scale power and North/South differences in the SDSS.


Up-to-date list available on ADS, on INSPIRE, or on Google Scholar.


Jamie A. P. Law-Smith, David A. Coulter, & Brenna Mockler, 2020, “jamielaw-smith/STARS_library”, v1.0.5, Zenodo, 10.5281/zenodo.4062018

The STARS_library, available on GitHub at https://github.com/jamielaw-smith/STARS_library, is an interpolated grid of fallback rates to the black hole (dM/dt) from 3D hydrodynamical simulations of tidal disruption events (TDEs) using realistic stellar models.


Here is the PDF.


Videos are available at this URL. Please email if you would like a particular video I have shown in a talk.


I feel very lucky to work with so many amazing people. As a small step toward giving them the credit they deserve, below is a list of my advisors and recent collaborators:

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz (advisor); Michael Dine (advisor); Douglas N.C. Lin (advisor); Ryan J. Foley (advisor); Selma E. de Mink; Rosa Wallace Everson; Lieke A.C. van Son; Ylva Götberg; Alejandro Vigna-Gómez; Zhuoxiao Wang; Xiaojia Zhang; Sara L. Ellison; Katie Auchettl; Tiara Hung; Jane L. Dai; Monica Gallegos-Garcia; David A. Coulter; Morgan MacLeod; James Guillochon; Philip Macias; Brenna Mockler; Tenley Hutchinson-Smith; Yan Yu; Shijun Sun; Duncan Wood; K. Decker French; Elena M. Rossi; Nicholas C. Stone; Daniel J. Eisenstein (undergraduate advisor); Joao Guimaraes da Costa (undergraduate advisor); David Schlegel (undergraduate advisor).


I am also lucky to have worked with some amazing undergraduates:

Chang Liu, undergraduate (Peking University), 2020-present; Monica Gallegos-Garcia, undergraduate (UCSC), on to PhD at Northwestern, 2015-2018; Priscilla Camacho Olachea, “post-bac” student (UCSC), 2016-2017.


Put your money to good use (if you have more than you need). Effective altruism / charity resources: the Open Philanthropy Project, Giving What We Can, The Life You Can Save, GiveWell, 80,000 hours. Or give directly to the Against Malaria Foundation and/or the Deworm the World Initiative, two of the most effective charities.

Climate change is real and is one of the major threats to humanity’s long-term survival; it is also responsible for the recent water scarcity crises in several countries. Resources: the UN website, the OECD website, the Active Sustainability website.

Within academia and particularly in physics and astronomy, there are far fewer people from underrepresented groups in undergraduate majors, phd positions, postdoctoral positions, and professorships than are reflected in the demographic makeup of the world. The field needs to do something about this—this includes developing equitable and inclusive hiring, admissions, and grant and telescope proposal reviewal practices, as well as recruiting and retaining students from diverse groups in undergraduate and graduate education. Regarding this aim in astronomy graduate education, the AAS recently put out a report on the status of diversity and inclusion as well as their recommendations: https://aas.org/education/aas-task-force-diversity-and-inclusion-graduate-astronomy-education.

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