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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online and In-Person Event
Grasping Mysterious Drivers of Galaxy Evolution with Big Data
Gina Panopoulou, Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar, Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology,

One of the fundamental motivations for the exploration of the cosmos is the search for our origins: understanding how the Universe developed the necessary conditions for the appearance of life. The answer lies in linking extremely complex, diverse, yet interconnected physical processes across time and space - from the earliest moments of the Universe to the formation of stars and their planetary systems. The connections are imprinted in the formation and evolution of the structural components of the Universe, galaxies. Galaxies act on the one hand as light-posts that allow us to map the history of the Universe, and on the other as the ecosystems from which individual stars emerge. The formation and evolution of galactic systems remains uncertain, as they are embedded in a poorly understood diffuse gaseous medium. Key challenges in determining the fate of this medium arise from the fact that it is (a) threaded by complex magnetic fields and (b) contains a sea of highly energetic particles emitted from within the galaxy. These two components have largely remained inaccessible to experimental measurement, until recently. We are entering a new era, with exciting advances in experimental capabilities and modeling, that will allow us to trace the indirect effects of magnetism and energetic particles. New facilities will deliver massive datasets on an unprecedented scale. The combination of these advances with recent developments in numerical methods and Data science will enable breakthroughs in this promising new field.

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For more information, please contact Jim Fuller by email at [email protected] or visit