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Local galaxies as laboratories to unravel the mysteries of galaxy formation and evolution

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • CASA Conference Room C324

Speaker Name(s): 

Médéric Boquien

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Marseille
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

How galaxies form and evolve across the Universe is one of the greatest outstanding questions in modern astrophysics. Yet this is a topic shrouded in mystery. To get an insight into galaxy evolution, we have to understand the fundamental process that drives the transformation of baryonic matter in galaxies: star formation. Indeed, young, blue, massive, and very luminous stars drastically affect the spectral energy distribution of galaxies, form heavy elements that enrich the interstellar medium and, due to feedback, inject metals into the intergalactic medium. Understanding how the gas reservoir of galaxies is transformed into stars is therefore pivotal to understanding galaxy formation and evolution. Unfortunately, measuring star formation and constraining star formation laws across the Universe remains a huge challenge. In this talk I will first present an overview of how to measure star formation in galaxies from the ultraviolet to the far infrared and what are the theoretical and practical limits of current methods. In the second part, I will explain how nearby galaxies can be used to gain insight into some puzzling high redshift observations and how they can be important tools to constrain models of galaxy formation and evolution.