Formation and Evolution of Globular Clusters

Coordinators: Frederic Rasio, Alison Sills, Enrico Vesperini, Stephen Zepf

Globular clusters are complex astrophysical systems whose evolution is determined by stellar dynamics, stellar evolution, the properties and the dynamical history of their host galaxies as well as the interplay among all these elements.

A complete understanding of the formation and evolution of globular clusters can be reached only through the collaboration and the joint expertise of researchers in many fields. The goal of this program is to encourage discussions, exchange of ideas and joint research projects involving experts in all the areas relevant to the formation and evolution of globular clusters. In particular the program will focus on:

- Early evolution and early structure formation.

  1. Early evolution of clusters and the role gas expulsion.
  2. Origin of early mass segregation.
  3. Implications of clusters' early evolution and disruption for the evolution of the global properties of cluster systems.
  4. Origin and dynamical implications of multiple stellar populations.
  5. Connections between globular clusters and early structure formation.

- Dynamical evolution of globular clusters and globular cluster systems.

  1. Relationship between structural properties of clusters and their stellar populations (binary stars, intermediate mass black holes, collision products)
  2. Modeling individual globular clusters
  3. Dynamical evolution of globular cluster systems
  4. Dynamical evolution of other similar systems, such as dense star clusters in galactic centers and young "super star clusters"

-Exotic populations in globular clusters

  1. Formation and signatures of Intermediate-mass black holes
  2. Low-mass X-ray binaries, cataclysmic variables and radio pulsars
  3. Blue stragglers: origin and relationship between abundance, spatial distribution and cluster dynamics
  4. Gravitational wave sources

There will be an associated conference, entitled Formation and Evolution of Globular Clusters, to be held January 12-16, 2009. As further information becomes available, it will be updated on the conference page.