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Gas, Stars, and Black Holes in the Galaxy Ecosystem
The gas and stars, together with the central supermassive black holes in galaxies form a complex eco-system that is largely responsible for how the galaxies that we see in the universe today developed from their initial structures at high redshift. In the leading cold dark matter theory of galaxy formation, the stellar structure of galaxies forms through star-formation that is fueled by gas accreted from the intergalactic medium. The star-formation is regulated by the feedback from stellar winds, supernovae and active galactic nuclei (AGN). The aim of this workshop was to bring together scientists working in three important and closely related subfields that - when put together - describe this entire process:
(1) The Gas and Stars (gas accretion, star formation, starbursts, dust)
(2) The Central Engine (black hole accretion, AGN triggering, outflows)
(3) Superwinds (AGN and starburst winds, radio jets, feedback, IGM, ICM)
The focus in the workshop was to (1) update the community on the key successes and failures in our current understanding of this complex eco-system, (2) discuss the most relevant new results, (3) explore synergies between different topics and different projects, and (4) present an observational and theoretical outlook to the near future.
The workshop had 55 participants from Europe, Brazil, China, Australia, the United States and Canada, including 7 Ph.D. students and 11 postdocs. A strong feature of this workshop was the fact that it brought together a great number of scientists that work in adjacent or connected fields that do not typically go to the same meetings. To set the stage for this workshop, an honorary review lecture was given on Monday morning by world-renowned expert Tim Heckman, who emphasized the interconnectivity of the key topics of the workshop. The remainder of the workshop followed a structure of mostly expert review sessions and scientific highlight talks before lunch, and poster presentations, group discussions, and offline work sessions in the afternoons.
The discussions focused on (1) stellar populations; (2) the life-cycle of radio AGN; (3) the triggering of luminous AGN; and (4) galaxy outflows. The discussions were led by 1-3 experts in the field, and were experienced as particularly lively owing to the diverse backgrounds of the participants. The discussions brought to light that (1) interpretations of galaxy spectra are still affected by unsolved problems in stellar evolution, although it is not clear whether, or to what level, these problems restrict our ability to measure accurate physical properties; (2) there continues to be mounting observational evidence that radio galaxies could play an important role in the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters, even though their exact role as well as the physics of radio AGN are still poorly understood; (3) a connection between AGN activity and galaxy merging is still expected, though differing timescales make it difficult to determine the key observational signatures expected; and (4) outflows are key to understanding the properties of all types of galaxies, but are still observationally challenging especially at high redshift.
The final day of the workshop was reserved for a series of brief talks describing a range of upcoming observational experiments (e.g. CALIFA, SAMI, Manga, Euclid, Muse, LMT, Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph, and new ultraviolet missions), followed by a discussion on how the interaction between observers and modelers/theorists predictions could be improved in order to make progress in understanding the important roles of gas, stars, and black holes in galaxy evolution.
We thank the Lorentz Center for financial and an excellent organizational support.
George Miley (Leiden, The Netherlands)
Roderik Overzier (Austin, USA)
Vivienne Wild (St. Andrews, UK)