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The Molecular Physics of Interstellar PAHs
The Lorentz workshop brought together an international and interdisciplinary community for interstellar “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon” (PAH) research to make an inventory of and address the key questions and strategies to advance our understanding of astronomical PAHs and maximize the scientific output of ground-based and space observations. The program consisted of invited reviews in this highly interdisciplinary field supplemented by contributed talks sketching the depth of on-going research. The program also included ample time for discussion. The workshop was attended by 57 scientists from 11 countries. The workshop has very successful in defining the key questions for the field and advised strategies to address these (see below). Specifically, the close interaction between the participants has led to a number of new cross-disciplinary projects among the participants (one of which is already being written up), a newly-founded dedicated newsletter to connect researchers involved in studies on interstellar PAHs, and plans for a collaborative network involving the NWO Dutch Astrochemistry Network and the NASA Carbon in the Galaxy Consortium.
· How does the astronomical PAH spectrum vary?
· What do astronomical PAH spectra tell us about astronomical conditions and evolution?
· What is the inventory of astronomical PAHs and what is their role in the origin of life?
· Increase spectral bandwidth
· Enhance guidance and prediction from laboratory and theory
· Develop an “astronomer friendly” toolbox
· Increase diversity and spatial decomposition of astronomical objects
· Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration
Lou Allamandola (Mountain View, USA)