Molecules and dust as fuel to star formation

Coordinators: Chris Carilli, Andrea Ferrara, and Jonathan Tan

Scientific Advisors: Paola Caselli, Masami Ouchi, and Raffaella Schneider

One of the most fundamental problems in present-day Astrophysics and Cosmology is to understand how stars form in galaxies. While in the last few years we have derived empirical relations between the global properties of a galaxy and the rate at which it forms stars, we still lack an equally satisfactory physical description of the process.

As stars form out of regions of high density of the interstellar medium - where the gas is mostly found in molecular form, and optical/UV radiation is screened by thick layers of dust, it is necessary to focus on the role of molecules and dust as fuel to star formation. In particular, we urgently need to understand the minimal conditions required to ignite and sustain the formation of stars; conversely, the effects of energy deposition by these stars on the surrounding interstellar gas environment must be firmly assessed.

These problems are particularly timely as we explore with exquisite detail the interstellar medium of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, but we also start to reveal, with the help of advanced instrumentation and accurate modeling, the structure of the interstellar medium of high redshift galaxies and quasars.

We will thus concentrate on the most pressing key questions, including (a) the link between the ISM structure and parent galaxy global properties; (b) the sources of dust and the evolution of dust through cosmic times, with emphasis on the relation with metal enrichment; (c) the formation, structure and evolution of molecular clouds in connection with the multi-phase atomic ISM of a galaxy; (d) the regulation of the star-formation cycle; (e) how do starburst events fit in the scenario?

Tackling these questions will be fundamental to interpret data from present and future large-scale facilities as ALMA, SKA, JWST to mention just a few. The conference will provide a state-of-the-art overview of the field, and will allow identifying successful strategies through which additional progress can be made. 

PLEASE NOTE: During the conference there will be an opportunity to present a poster. If you are interested in presenting a poster please visit the conference website and submit your title and abstract.  Each poster board is 4 feet high x 6 feet wide. We ask that the posters be no larger than 44 inches high x 34 inches wide at the most. Deadline will be June 6, 2016.

The deadline to submit posters has passed.