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NOAO Newsletter - CTIO Operations - June 2000 - Number 62


Astronomers Talk Stars, Gas, and Dust

Knut Olsen

More than 100 astronomers gathered in La Serena March 15-18 to attend the 2000 CTIO/ESO/LCO Workshop "Stars, Gas, and Dust in Galaxies: Exploring the Links." The program was designed to give a comprehensive overview of the physics of galaxies through three days of oral reviews and oral and poster contributions, and to promote lively interdisciplinary exchanges through a day of "town meeting"-style discussion on questions submitted in advance by the attendees. By all accounts the workshop was a success. Gerhard Hensler provided the introduction and did an admirable job of taking on an extra review on a day's notice. The program began with reviews and contributions on the interstellar medium, then moved to stellar populations and their interaction with the ISM, and ended with large-scale phenomena such as galaxy interactions and galactic winds and outflows.

While the bottom-up approach led naturally to a focus on the more easily studied nearby galaxies, reviews and contributions on the study of the integrated properties of galaxies brought distant galaxies under the program's umbrella. Dennis Zaritsky's closing remarks on mass budgets in galaxies discussed dark matter halos and placed the program in a cosmological context.

Friday night's late-night dinner and salsa party did not stifle the next day's open discussions. Four working group leaders--Pierre Cox, Sally Oey, Eva Grebel, and Fabienne Casoli--led the discussions with attendants' "burning questions," which spanned topics from individual stars to distant galaxies. A final panel was asked to make predictions on what the next 10 Gyr will look like; most of them demurred, preferring to speculate on what the next 10 years of astronomical research will bring.


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