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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 4376

  Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Astronomy Colloquium
The Turbulent Origin of Stars
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies 3:30 pm, Talk at 3:45PM
Speaker: Phillip Chang, UW Milwaukee
Abstract: Recent numerical experiments on the star formation rate on small scales find that the star formation rate is much faster than the Kennicutt-Schmidt law which well-characterizes star formation on galactic scales, and also shows that star formation accelerates with time. Motivated by these results, I will discuss a new dynamical theory of star formation in a turbulent medium that seeks to explain these observed numerical results. I will survey the various theories of star formation and their shortcomings. I will then discuss how we extend previous theories of collapse by considering turbulence as a dynamical variable and closing the fluid equations with a new form of the energy equation. The resulting theory explains these previous numerical results and makes a few predictions that have recently been numerically verified as well as some numerical surprises. I will discuss the implications of this theory on observations.
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