The study of star formation lies at the
nexus of modern astrophysics,with connections to a wide range
of other fields ranging from galactic structure and evolution
to physics of the interstellar medium to formation of
planetary systems. Observational studies of star
formation draw on essentially all astronomical wavelengths,
from radio to X-rays, and current facilities including HST,
Spitzer, Herschel, and ALMA are providing
increasingly rich and detailed views of star formation
phenomena from scales of giant molecular clouds and above to
circumstellar disks and below.
Many paradigmatic theoretical problems involving gravitational
collapse, turbulence, accretion flows, radiation hydrodynamics,
and other fundamental astrophysical processes were first
investigated in the context of star formation, and modeling the
complex interplay of these effects is central to forefront
numerical work in the field.
In this course, we will review a range of topics in star
formation, primarily concentrating on theory but also including
the observations that motivate and constrain these
studies. Each week will have a theme and two student
presentations. The presentations will draw on papers in
the astrophysical literature, including both classic works,
reviews, and reports of the most recent advances.
Each presentation will be 30 minutes long, followed by 10
minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations should
include relevant observational background. Papers to be
covered by presenters will be posted in advance, and everyone
should read the papers and come to the seminar prepared to ask
questions and contribute to the discussion after the talk.
After the presentation, everyone in the seminar will be asked to
provide (anonymous) constructive feedback to the speaker. Each
student speaks once per semester, and should set up a meeting
with the instructor (Eve) to go over the plan for the talk in
the week prior to the date of the presentation. Grading for the
course is on a P/F basis.