Dissertation Acknowledge


There are many people that I would like to thank when looking back to my years at Princeton. First and foremost, I am deeply indebted to my thesis advisor Roman Rafikov, who is always there whenever I need him (yes, I mean ALWAYS). Roman’s continuous support of my research all these years, as well as his patience, motivation, enthusiasm, and immense knowledge, are essential for the completion of this work. I simply could not ask for a better advisor. It is also a great pleasure for me to thank the rest of my thesis committee, Jill Knapp, Jim Stone, and Ed Turner, for their encouragement, guidance, and insightful suggestions throughout my Ph.D. study. The road to my graduate degree has been long and winding, with major difficulties on the way. Without the firm support from my wonderful committee, I could not make it today. They are not only advisors, but also my dear friends.

Apart from having a wonderful committee, this thesis would not be possible without the help from many others. Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank Pascale Garaud and Doug Lin, for organizing the International Summer Institute for Modeling in Astrophysics (ISIMA) at Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Beijing. It was at this wonderful summer school that I was connected with a key mentor in my career, Lee Hartmann, and two of my most important collaborators, Takayuki Muto and Zhaohuan Zhu, who essentially helped me jump-start the observational part of my thesis. I am particularly grateful to Lee, who has gone far beyond being a summer school advisor to me, and has helped me ever after in every way he can. The observational part of my thesis was only made possible by the Subaru-based SEEDS project, with great support from Motohide Tamura. In SEEDS, I enjoyed very fruitful collaboration and great relationships with many friends, in particular Tim Brandt, Markus Janson, Michael McElwain, and Jun Hashimoto. Specially, Jun’s insights in observations and enthusiasm in science have made many great things possible. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to another key figure in my thesis work – Barbara Whitney. I bothered her all the time with silly and tedious questions, and what I have got in return is persistent support and encouragement. Thank you very much Barb!

During my years in Princeton, I am blessed to have the opportunities to work with many others in our department. When I started my first semester project in Peyton Hall with Jim Stone, I just arrived in this new country, and could hardly make any sense out of the classroom, needless to say doing research. With great patience and kindness, Jim taught me hand by hand, and helped me go through this transition period. I am also extremely grateful to Bruce Draine, whose carefulness and preciseness in science have greatly shaped my view of how to do research; to Jenny Greene, who rescued me when I was in trouble in my research, and encouraged me a lot during my job application; to Michael Strauss, who always had time for me when I knocked on the door and for numerous times poked others to find answers to my questions; and with my deepest gratitude, to Jim Gunn, who together with Jill not only guided me through the world of astronomy, but also took great care of me in life. Whenever I had any problem, Jill and Jim were always there for me.

My sincere thanks also go to Luis Ho, John Mulchaey, and Jesper Rasmussen, for offering me the summer research opportunities in the Carnegie Observatory (twice!) and leading me working on diverse exciting projects. Particularly, I am glad to thank Luis for his career advises all these years following my summer at OCIW. By sharing with me their insightful opinions and giving me very valuable suggestions, many people have greatly helped me in my thesis research, in particular Sean Andrews, Tilman Birnstiel, Brendan Bowler, John Carpenter, Eugene Chiang, Catherine Espaillat, Andrea Isella, James Owen, Cristobal Petrovich, and many, many others. I deeply thank them all. Also, I would like to thank Charlotte Zanidakis for easing the thesis submission process.

I must thank all my fellow colleges in the basement, who have made Princeton a very special place for me. In particular, special acknowledgment to Mike Belyaev, my kayaking/hiking/climbing/shopping partner, in particular for being generous enough to share Roman with me, and being brave enough to sit in my car on highways when I was practicing driving; to Simone Ferraro, for having me over dinner at your places numerous times; to Pete Pattarakijwanich, for reminding me to go grocery shopping every week; to Fabian Schmidt, for all the fun we had on the walls; to Elisa Chisari, Ena Choi, and Wenhua Ju, for your greatest friendship; to Jason Li, for sharing your views of the world with me; to Tim Brandt, for your excellent suggestions to my research projects and for being a wonderful roommate; to Xuening Bai, Feng Dong, Shirley Ho, KG Lee, Xin Liu, and Yue Shen for your help in my early days in Peyton hall; and to Konstantin Bochkarev, Jose Garmilla, Munan Gong, Brandon Hensley, Colin Hill, Alex Howe, Chelsea Huang, Yanfei Jiang, Andrea Kulier, Cristobal Petrovich, Sasha Philippov, Sudhir Raskutti, Emmanuel Schaan, Blake Sherwin, Kedron Silsbee, Ai-Lei Sun, Chris White, Daan Meerburg, Jose Prieto, as well as the folks upstairs, Matt Kunz, Kengo Tomida, and the folks all the way in IAS, Subo Dong, Hanno Rein, Dave Spiegel, the list can simply just go on and on and on...

And finally, needless to say, I am deeply indebted to my parents, for their persistent support, as always.