How Stars Form


Tuesday, January 31 2017 - 12:00 pm, PST
Christopher McKee
UC Berkeley
Stars are the atoms of the universe. The process by which stars form is at the nexus of astrophysics since they are believed to be responsible for the re-ionization of the universe, they created the heavy elements, they play a central role in the formation and evolution of galaxies, and their formation naturally leads to the formation of planets. Whereas early work on star formation was based on the assumption that it is a quiescent process, it is now believed that turbulence plays a dominant role. In this overview, I shall discuss the evolution of our understanding of how stars form and current ideas about the stellar initial mass function, the rate of star formation, the formation of massive stars, the role of magnetic fields, and the formation of the first stars.
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