An invited review presented at the IV Reunion Cientifica de la Sociedad Espanola de Astronomica, Santiago de Compostella, Spain, 11 - 14 September, 2000.
This review briefly and very informally summarizes some of my ongoing research. One unifying theme in my work is the use of computers to bridge the gap between human and astronomical time-scales. Galactic collisions are an example; the dynamics of interacting galaxies can be visualized with numerical simulations. I present results on matching interacting systems, formation of tidal dwarf (pseudo-)galaxies, kinematics of merger remnants, and the origin of counter-rotating "cores". Stellar collisions, though they unfold in a matter of hours, are too rare to be observed directly; numerical simulations provide a way to study the physics of such events. The cost of computation has fallen by a factor of 103 in the last decade; this may be one of the few areas of astronomy which is actually becoming less expensive!
A gzipped postscript copy of this paper is available. The text will appear in the proceedings of the IV Scientific Meeting of the SEA, ed. J. Zamorano, J. Gorgas, & J. Gallego (Kluwer).
Last modified: November 13, 2000