Turbulence in Cosmic Structure Formation

Turbulence in Cosmic Structure Formation Turbulence in Cosmic Structure Formation
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    Scott Smas
    ASU School of Earth & Space Exploration
    PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ, 85287-140
    phone: 480 965-9416

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  • Updated on 2012-01-20 09:26:00

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Many recent theoretical and observational studies have highlighted the impact of feedback from stars and active galactic nuclei on structure formation.   Stellar winds and supernovae drive large outflows of material, pollute the interstellar and intergalactic media with heavy elements, and likely suppress the formation of low-mass galaxies.   Likewise, feedback from active galactic nuclei affects the entropy profiles of galaxy clusters,  balances cooling in the centers of cool-core galaxy clusters, and likely suppresses star formation in the highest-mass galaxies.

While understanding the coupling of evolved stars and active back holes with their surrounding media  is one of the most important and formidable problems in astrophysics, understanding the subsequent evolution of such flows is likely to be even more challenging.  In all cases, feedback leads to a highly turbulent medium, with Reynolds numbers that regularly exceed 1,000,000.   Furthermore, this turbulence is often supersonic, driven by a wide range of often poorly-understood instabilities, and impossible to capture fully with direct numerical simulations.

This conference will bring together experts in the theory and observation of turbulent media on galactic and intergalactic scales, to help address this fundamental issue in the history of cosmic structure formation.  Particular topics of interest will include

  • Turbulent processes in star-forming galaxies and galaxy outflows
  • Observational evidence and theoretical predictions for turbulence in galaxy clusters
  • The role of turbulence in the formation history of disks and bulges
  • Turbulent mixing in the interstellar and intergalactic medium
  • The role of hydrodynamic instabilities in the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters