AST 494 / AST 591 — Astrophysics Seminar, Fall 2005

Star Formation and Chemical Enrichment:
From the First Stars to Present-day Galaxies

Meeting Time: Friday 12:15 -- 1:30 PM      (First meeting: Fri Aug 26 12:15 PM)

Place:         PSF 226
Instructor: Rolf Jansen

Rolf Jansen: office: PSF 230
office hours: by appointment
e-mail: Rolf.Jansen @
telephone: (480) 727-7119

Course Objectives:
The aim of this course is to introduce you, the students, to several seminal papers on topics in astronomy related to this broad topic, followed by more recently published work. The emphasis should lie on the development of scientific theory and method, rather than on just the latest discovery/measurement or incremental improvement in a particular technique.
Oral reports on the papers selected will be presented in class at the rate of one ~60 minute presentation per week. Each student will be responsible for one report. Oral reports by senior graduate students would be on a voluntary and as-time-permits basis only. Each report should consist of a general introduction covering the scope of the paper and the larger field of research of which the paper is part, followed by a more detailed summary of the paper and a discussion of its impact. Each presentation is followed by time for questions and answers.
Dates for the talk(s) by each student will be assigned within the first week of the first class — first come, first serve. The choice of paper to discuss will be up to the student (but see Tips.., below!), but I'll be happy to discuss that choice and/or offer suggestions.

The majority of the work for this class will revolve around computer-based presentations (i.e., HTML (web-browser), Power Point/OpenOffice, PDF (acroread), etc..). A laptop computer running Redhat 9 Linux will be available in the classroom to give the presentation, but students are free to bring and use their own Windows, Linux or Macintosh laptop should they have one.
One week before their scheduled presentation, each student should provide me with the reference to a paper of their choice. I will place a link on the class web-site to an electronic version of this paper (PDF/Postscript), so all other students can download and read it, formulate questions, and thus participate in the discussion of that paper.
When you do not use your own laptop, send your presentation no later than the afternoon preceding class to me (1) by e-mail as an attachment (only if less than ~25 Mb!), or (2) send me the URL of a web-site where you posted the presentation, or (3) hand it to me by USB memory stick or CDROM otherwise, so it can be checked if it does display properly, and allow you sufficient time to fix when it does not. In all cases, after you finish your talk, make the electronic presentation available to me so I can create a link into the following table (see Seminar Schedule below) to it, so it can be viewed and consulted later.

Tips for finding a suitable paper:
Papers that had/have a large impact will be cited by many other authors. Papers with only very few citations (<25), or only self-citations by the authors, are not suitable for discussion. Given the hour-long format of each presentation, single 4 or 5-page Letters are also not suitable (but three closely related ones might be). Typically, papers should be the equivalent of 15–20 pages in a main journal (multi-page tables or atlasses of figures, and the list of references don't count). Note, that only peer reviewed papers are suitable for discussion. Discussion of a paper that recently appeared on 'astro-ph' is only allowed (but strongly discouraged given the citation requirement above) if the "Comments" give a specific volume/issue of the peer-reviewed journal where such paper is scheduled to appear.
Although not a complete depository of all scientific literature in astronomy and astrophysics, none the less, astronomy as a science is blessed in having a very large, full-text digital library: the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) ( For example, a search for the paper that I'll discuss during our first meeting (see Seminar Schedule below) returned:

1 1962ApJ...136..748E
1.000 11/1962 A   F   G   R   C   S   O   U   H
Eggen, O. J.; Lynden-Bell, D.; Sandage, A. R.
Evidence from the motions of old stars that the Galaxy collapsed.

A full text, printable version of this paper may be obtained by clicking on the "F" link (or by clicking on the full reference link or "A" link, and following the links on the abstract page that it opens). Often, there is also a "G" that points to GIF-format scans of each page of the paper or an "E" that points to an HTML version (both may come handy to extract/retrieve a digital version of a figure, table or equation to insert in your presentation). To check whether a paper has a sufficient number of citations, one can click the link marked "C".

NEW:   Here is a link to an incomplete list of papers that may be suitable for discussion (excluding the ones marked as having too many pages; in the case of Letters, several related ones could be discussed).

The following is the schedule of presentations:

Seminar Schedule
Date Person Paper Title + link to presentation
8/26 Rolf Jansen PS/PDF Introduction to the Class / Setting the stage...(Part I)
Evidence from the motions of old stars that the Galaxy collapsed,
Eggen, Lynden-Bell & Sandage 1962, ApJ 136, 747
9/02 Rolf Jansen PS/PDF Setting the stage... (Part II)
Evolution of the Stars and Gas in Galaxies, Tinsley, B.M. 1968, ApJ 151, 547
9/09 Beatrice Perret PS/PDF The Dependence of the Sub-stellar IMF on the Initial Conditions for Star Formation, (or: PPT)
Delgado-Donate, E.J., Clarke, C.J., & Bate, M.R., 2004, MNRAS 347, 759
9/16 Russell Ryan PS/PDF The Stellar Initial Mass Function in Primordial Galaxies,
Nakamura, F., & Umemura, M. 2002, ApJ 569, 549
9/21 Barbara Whitney
  Lunch talk PSF-226 1:00 PM
2-D and 3-D Radiation Transfer Models of Young Stellar Objects
9/22 Loris Magnani
(Univ. of Georgia)
  Colloquium PSF-123 4:00 PM
The Rise and Fall of CH as a Molecular Mass Tracer
9/23 Adam Mott PS/PDF Fueling nuclear activity in disk galaxies: Starbursts and monsters,
Heller, C.H., & Shlosman, I. 1994, ApJ 424, 84
9/29 Mark Dickinson
  Colloquium PSF-123 4:00 PM
Spitzer Observations of the Distant Universe from the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey
9/30     no class
10/07 Angel G. Fuentes PS/PDF,
The Transition from Population III to Population II Stars, (or: PPT)
Fang, T., & Cen, R. 2004, ApJ 616, L87 and Venkatesan, A. (2005), astro-ph/0508182
10/14 Hwihyun Kim PS(2pp/page)
Luminous Infrared Galaxies, (or: PPT)
Sanders, D.B., & Mirabel, I.F. 1996, ARA&A 34, 749 (Ch. 4 + 5, mainly)
10/21 Michael Lesniak PS/PDF Evidence for Solar Metallicities in Massive Star-forming Galaxies at z>2,
Shapley, A., Erb, D., Pettini, M., Steidel, C., & Adelberger, K. 2004, ApJ 612, 108
10/28 Wendy Hawley PS/PDF H II Regions and the Abundance Properties of Spiral Galaxies (or: PPT),
Zaritsky, D., Kennicutt, R.C., Jr., & Huchra, J.P. 1994, ApJ 420, 87
11/04 Carola Ellinger PS/PDF The Evolution and Explosion of Massive Stars. II. Explosive Hydrodynamics and Nucleosynthesis (or: PPT),
Woosley, S.E., & Weaver, T.A. 1995, ApJS 101, 181
11/07 Nor Pirzkal
Monday Lunchtalk eGRAPES: emission-line objects in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field
11/10 George Rieke
(Steward Obs.)
  Colloquium PSF-123 4:00 PM
New Spitzer Results on Debris Disks
11/11     Veterans Day — no class (the Special Seminar announced earlier is canceled)
11/17 Joseph Silk
(Univ. of Oxford)
  Colloquium PSF-123 4:00 PM
The Dark Side of the Universe
11/18 Katie Kaleida PS/PDF The effects of interactions on spiral galaxies. I – Nuclear activity and star formation (or: PPT),
Keel, W.C, Kennicutt, R.C., Jr., Hummel, E. & van der Hulst, J.M. 1985, AJ 90, 708
11/25     Thanksgiving — no class
12/02 Brian Gleim PS/PDF Nucleosynthesis in Supernovae (or: PPT),
F. Hoyle & W.A. Fowler 1960, ApJ 132, 565

    recommended Dept. of Physics & Astronomy Colloquia (Thu 4:00 PM in PSF-123)
    class introduction / Special Seminar by visiting scientist (Fri 12:15 PM / Mon 12:30 PM in PSF-226)

NEW:   Do you have suggestions for next semester's topic? Would you like to continue next semester with this broad topic, but focus on more recent papers? Let me know:

Last update: Dec 9 2005 [RAJ]