The launch of the Herschel Space Observatory on May 15 2009 has provided astronomers, for the first time, with a facility to systematically study the Universe at far-infrared and sub-millimeter (~55 – 600 microns) wavelengths. At these wavelengths, emission is dominated by cold dust grains and Herschel is thus a prime tool to study dust in galaxies. Together with the data obtained with previous space missions that probed shorter wavelength infrared emission from galaxies (the Infrared Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope), we have now very detailed Spectral Energy distributions available for many (classes of) galaxies. Analyzing and interpreting this wealth of data will require close interaction between researchers with diverse backgrounds. Such studies hold the promise of deep insight in the coldest dust reservoirs in galaxies and shed new light on the origin and evolution of interstellar dust. Moreover, understanding the spectral energy distribution of galaxies is imperative to analyze and interpret the wealth of data that Herschel provides on galaxies at high redshifts.
The goal of this workshop is to overview the state of the art in studies of the characteristics of dust and their influence on the spectral energy distribution of galaxies. This workshop aims to bring together astronomers involved in observations of dust in galaxies, astronomers versed in the modeling of spectral energy distributions, theoreticians with deep understanding of the physical and chemical processes affecting dust in space, experimentalist studying the characteristics of materials of astrophysical relevance in the laboratory, and astronomers studying galaxies at high redshifts.