IAUS 315: From interstellar clouds to star-forming galaxies: universal processes?

Start Date: 
Monday, August 3, 2015
End Date: 
Friday, August 7, 2015
Co-Chairs of SOC: 
  • Pascale Jablonka (EPFL; Observatoire de Paris)
  • Floris Van der Tak (SRON & Uni Groningen)
  • Philippe André (CEA - AIM Paris-Saclay)

For more information on Symposium 315, visit: http://iaus315.epfl.ch/


The availability of wide-field far-infrared and submillimeter surveys with, e.g., the Spitzer, Herschel, Planck, Wise, and Akari space observatories, coupled with the much improved capabilities of ground-based millimeter and submillimeter interferometers, have recently led to spectacular and decisive steps forward in our understanding of star formation modes from solar system scales (tens of AUs) to global (kpc) scales in galaxies. In particular, it appears that star formation in dense molecular gas is governed by essentially the same “laws” in nearby Galactic clouds and distant external galaxies. This raises the possibility of a unified picture of star formation in the Universe from small scales (clouds, filaments, protostellar cores and disks) to galaxy-wide scales.

The goal of the Symposium is to debate this possibility and to start building a coherent picture of how star formation is fuelled on a wide range of scales in galaxies and the Universe. The conference would bring together researchers working on star formation throughout the Universe from nearby clouds to local galaxies to the first star-forming galaxies at high redshift, both observers and theorists, who would debate the fundamental question whether the dominant mode of star formation is universal.

With the advent of powerful observational facilities such as ALMA and high-resolution, multi-scale numerical simulations, we believe the time is ripe for such a meeting bridging the gap between Galactic and extragalactic star formation.

Key Topics: 
  1. The gas in galaxies

    1. Atomic and molecular phases
of the ISM
    2. Excitation of molecular gas in galaxies
    3. Molecules in galaxies as tracers of ISM properties and star formation rates
  2. Formation of structure in the interstellar medium
    1. Structure and evolution of interstellar clouds
    2. Formation and evolution of dense cores
    3. Formation and evolution of protostellar disks
  3. Star formation on GMC scales
    1. Formation and early evolution of stellar clusters
    2. Comparison of low-mass and high-mass star formation
    3. Origin and universality of the IMF
  4. Star formation at galactic scales
    1. Nearby universe (dwarfs and massive systems, ellipticals, spirals)
    2. Co-evolution of AGNs
    3. Star formation laws, rates, and thresholds in galaxies
  5. Evolution of star formation with time and environment 

    1. Main-sequence disks versus starburst galaxies
    2. Comparison of low and high redshift star formation
    3. Impact of the environment on star formation: groups and clusters