University of Cambridge > > The Kavli Lectures > Star Formation, Feedback, and Cosmic Evolution: A Modern Primer

Star Formation, Feedback, and Cosmic Evolution: A Modern Primer

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Steven Brereton.

The cosmic history of galaxy formation is the history of star formation writ large. While the contents of the universe are mostly invisible and interact with baryons only weakly, a wide array of physical processes affect evolution of the observable baryons. Some of the most important processes involve coupling between stellar and gaseous components, since massive stars are the primary energy source in the interstellar medium (ISM), circumgalactic medium (CGM), and intergalactic medium (IGM). The majority of stellar energy — including UV radiation, winds, and supernovae — is returned rapidly after a given population of stars forms, and is therefore collectively termed “star formation feedback.” Because the state of the ISM determines the star formation rate, and stellar feedback determines the ISM state, quantifying how this co-regulation works is crucial to theoretical modeling. The need to quantify feedback responses also extends to galaxy formation theory on larger scales, where galactic winds driven by feedback heat and add metals to the CGM , thereby regulating the accretion that replenishes the ISM , and where escaping stellar UV ionizes the IGM . Because the observational characterization of galaxies — both near and far — relies on emission lines and infrared continuum from gas and dust subject to photoheating and photochemistry from starlight, quantitative interpretation of observations also relies on calibration using physical models that accurately represent radiative transfer in complex environments. In this lecture, I will review current theory of the physics of feedback, showcasing results from state-of-the-art, high-resolution numerical radiation-magnetohydrodynamic simulations that directly follow multiphase ISM evolution including the effects of UV radiation, stellar winds, and supernovae. These simulations, on both scales of individual star-forming molecular clouds, and scales of galactic disks, show star formation efficiencies and rates that are consistent with detailed observations in the nearby universe, and also indicate strong sensitivity to environment. At high densities and where dust and metal abundances are high, stellar radiation does not propagate as far, and cooling rates are enhanced. As a result of the reduced effectiveness of feedback in maintaining the ISM pressure (turbulent, thermal, and magnetic), star formation rates and efficiencies are expected to increase in high-density environments. Results from suites of resolved star-forming ISM simulations have been used to calibrate new subgrid models, and incorporation of these new results in galaxy formation models may potentially significantly change predictions for star formation at high redshift.

This talk is part of the The Kavli Lectures series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity