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Assembly and Star Formation of Early-Type Galaxies in 3D
3-7 December, 2012
The goal of this workshop was to bring together a diverse group of observers and simulators to interact on outstanding questions of star formation and mass assembly in early-type galaxies. The workshop was effectively a team meeting of the Atlas3D Project, enabling the members of the Atlas3D team and a number of people associated with the project to meet and interact. The Atlas3D team is an international group of researches at various levels of seniority, from PhD students, post-docs, junior group leaders and senior scientists. The project began collecting data 5 years ago, and has since published more than 20 papers in the past 2 years.
This was a 5-day workshop, with a similar format for each day, which was a series of flexibly scheduled presentations about ongoing work in the morning, with topical discussion of ideas for new lines of investigation in the afternoon. The first two days were used to discuss observational and theoretical progress on the star formation process in early-type galaxies. There is ongoing debate as to whether the apparently regular ‘law’ of star formation found in spiral galaxies still holds in the more evolved, early-type galaxies. This question is complicated by the large variety of star formation tracers available, and the varying systematic uncertainties involved. These were discussed at length, resulting in plans for progress and publications.
The third day was used to hear about the latest results from simulations of galaxy formation using cosmological models re-simulated at high resolution. This was followed by open round-table discussion on galaxy formation scenarios, in an effort to bring the various pieces of information coming from different observables and model predictions into a coherent picture.
The last two days were focused on a new large observing initiative using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. This is a multi-year project, combining the data and efforts of two large teams. This was the first general discussion of how to structure the new collaboration and conduct the project. Scientific goals were reviewed by the group, and the collaborative strategy was established.
The workshop met its broad scientific goals, which were namely to assess and describe the past and present star formation properties of the Atlas3D sample, and to make detailed comparisons of data with simulations in order to understand the galaxy formation paths. Significant progress was made in coordinating the team’s efforts to make further progress in the coming months.
This was our first experience in using the new Snellius facility. Our group was of limited size, and we appreciated the intimacy of the Snellius space. The transparent office spaces mean that people are never really ‘absent’ from the meeting, and the centralized meeting area gives a lot of opportunities for spontaneous interactions. Support, both financial and administrative, was also generous and effective. As a suggestion, it would be useful to have the possibility of hosting a ‘half week’ e.g. 3-day meeting for small groups. Such ‘mini-workshops’ could attract a different, less formal, type of meeting, for which the Snellius facility is well suited.
In summary, the meeting was an enjoyable success. The Lorentz Centre remains a unique and inspiring facility, and a great asset to the scientific community.