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Physics and Astronomy

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CSP Lunch Seminar

The Galactic Star Formation Hierarchy  
Guest Speaker
Jonathan Tan  
Guest Affiliation
Department of Astronomy & Physics, University of Florida  
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm  
CSP Conference Room (322)  
The birth of new generations of stars from the gas within galaxies is a basic process driving galactic evolution. A number of intriguing empirical “Kennicutt-Schmidt” relations have been found between the rate of star formation and the gas and dynamical properties of the host galaxy, but there is no consensus on the physical basis of these relations. Star formation in galaxies involves a vast range of scales from tens of thousands of light years of galactic disks down to about 1 light second scales of individual stars, and so is a hugely challenging computational problem. It also involves complex physical processes resulting from the interaction of self-gravitating gas, turbulence, magnetic fields, cosmic rays and radiation, along with astrochemical evolution of gas and dust in molecular clouds. I describe several numerical simulation projects that attempt to examine this Galactic Star Formation Hierarchy from the largest to the smallest scales, to try and elucidate the most important physical processes that are controlling star formation activity.