Galaxy Formation, an International Conference at Durham
This international conference has been held from 18th to 22nd of July at Durham (UK), twenty years after the celebration of another one in which attending researches (~ 70) voted the epochs at which they thought that the majority of the stellar content in galaxies was already formed. The possible answers were three: a) when the Universe is older than 3.5 Gyr, b) when the Universe has ~ 1.5 Gyr, and c) when the Universe is younger than 1 Gyr. The majoritarily voted epoch was when the Universe was only 1.5 Gyr old (the Universe is thought to be as old as 14 Gyrs now).
At the present, we know this is not true (the peak of star formation rate in the Universe is later, when the Universe was 3.5 Gyrs old). Moreover, current hierarchical scenarios of galaxy formation pose that the mean age of the stars in a galaxy might be much older than the real age of the galaxy itself, because many galaxies can have acquired most of its mass through galaxy mergers during the last 9 Gyr os cosmic history.
This new conference has gathered together nearly 400 researchers (including a GUAIX member, Carmen Eliche-Moral) to review progress towards understanding the physics of galaxy formation (poster available here).
"A comprehensive multiwavelength view of the universe of galaxies, AGN and larger scale structures over a large fraction of cosmic history is beginning to emerge. A complete census of star formation is within reach and this will reveal which galaxies are growing most rapidly at different epochs and how galaxies of different masses were assembled... This meeting will bring together theorists and observers to review progress towards understanding the physics of galaxy formation".