Building the Milky Way

Coordinators: Andrew John Benson, Juna Kollmeier, Matthias H. Steinmetz

This program aims to synthesize our knowledge of galaxy formation by placing the rich and detailed data we have on the Galaxy into the larger context of galaxy formation models and cosmology. This is a highly opportune time to bring together researchers from the various sub-fields involved in the study of the Milky Way including astrometry, stellar archeology, high-energy astrophysics, N-body/semi-analytic modeling, galactic dynamics, satellite galaxies, ISM, star-formation, and the Galactic center. Both because of increases in the observational data available now and in the near future (owing to improved instrumentation on large telescopes as well as large surveys) and to advances in the theoretical modeling of the Milky Way, we are now well poised to tackle the general problem of galaxy formation through the specific example of the Galaxy.

Key areas to be covered include:


  • new dwarf satellites
  • tidal debris
  • local group kinematics
  • dynamics of bulge/disk(s)/halo
  • Sgr A* : immediate environment and impact


  • chemical evolution of bulge/disk/halo
  • archeology of the most metal poor stars in the halo


  • Milky Way in the framework of hierarchical structure formation
  • Milky Way as cosmological crucible

Our program will begin with an assessment of the progress made in MW research over the last 2 decades and will look forward to the next decade during the conference "Back to the Galaxy II," which will run from September 29 through October 3rd. More information can be found here.

Questions should be directed to one of the program coordinators.