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Fine-Tuning Stellar Population Models
Models of the integrated light of stellar populations hold an increasingly important role in the study of galaxy evolution. As telescopes grow bigger, instruments grow more sensitive, and galaxy surveys grow in size and quality, the demand for excellent stellar population models will also grow. Since it is more and more common that results on galaxy evolution are limited by the quality of the stellar population models, rather than the data, it is very important that these models are critically tested, assessed, and further improved.
At the same time, new ingredients for stellar population models are becoming available, such as new stellar spectral libraries, significantly more detailed stellar atmosphere models, and new stellar interior models. A key area of interest for many researchers in this field is the determination of detailed chemical abundances in galaxies to study their nucleosynthesis patterns and consequently their star formation histories. These new model ingredients provide significantly enhanced power to attack this problem, but need to be incorporated in the models, verification, and testing against real observations.
We will hold a technical workshop in which stellar population model builders, "ingredient providers'' – those researchers providing new stellar libraries and stellar interior and atmosphere models – and model consumers (i.e., observers) can congregate to discuss the use and interpretation of current models and their future directions. The determination of abundance ratios in galaxies will be discussed in detail. The small size of the workshop will make it possible to test critical aspects of the models against each other and the observations, and to establish what improvements should be made and how this can be accomplished. Furthermore, we will discuss desired features of future stellar population models, and ways of making them more accessible to the community. This workshop will produce a critical view of the future directions of stellar population models and the ingredients, refinements, and additions required to pursue these directions.