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Theme 1 colloquium: 'The interaction of cosmic (electro)magnetic fields with molecules' (Lecture)

Tuesday 1 February 2022Add to my calendar
from 16:00
dr. Boy Lankhaar (Universiteit Leiden & Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden)

In this talk we discuss the formation of stars and their eventual death throes. Apart from their relevance to understanding our cosmic origins and destiny, these stages of stellar evolution have a vital role in the "ecosystem" of galaxies.

In the death throes of stars, that occur far into their evolution and expansion, molecules and materials (dust) form in their so-called outflows. The dynamics of stellar outflows is heavily influenced by the presence of a magnetic field. Constraining the properties of such a magnetic field using telescope observations, is however a challenging proposition. The formation of stars is chiefly regulated by turbulent motions in nebular (molecular and dusty) gas. Magnetic fields, again,
have an effect on these processes, and will expand their influence as the star formation process proceeds. Recently, the later stages of star formation, where size scales become smaller, have been mapped with unprecedented resolution using modern interferometers such as ALMA. But, again, tracing magnetic fields in these regions is challenging.

In this talk, we discuss techniques to measure the magnetic field morphology and strength of astrophysical regions using polarization measurements of molecular spectral lines. Then, perhaps surprisingly, the molecular physics surrounding the above mentioned topics may be readily related to detecting a possible enantiomeric excess of ISM gas-phase molecules through circular dichroism measurements of their spectral lines.

During the talk, I will lay extra emphasis on the molecular physics surrounding these topics.

dr. Gilles de Wijs

zoom link can be found in the invitation sent by email on January 27