Symposium S9 3 – 4 April 2018

The interstellar medium as a window onto galaxy evolution

Aims and scope

This session brings together researchers with areas of expertise spanning the electromagnetic spectrum and the full range of cosmic time in order to highlight the interdependence of all aspects of understanding galaxies through their ISM.

Modern submillimetre-radio telescopes (such as Herschel, JCMT, and especially ALMA) have allowed us to observe gas, dust, and star formation in exquisite detail, from the local Universe out to z>7. Studying the ISM is vital for understanding how objects seen at high-redshift became the present-day galaxy population - revealing how star formation is triggered and quenched, and how gas reservoirs of galaxies are depleted (by outflows and star formation) and replenished (by inflows and interactions), across cosmic time. Tackling these questions is the focus of cutting-edge galaxy evolution simulations (such as EAGLE and Illustris), the now-underway SKA precursor surveys, and the soon-to-launch JWST.

The new generation of spectroscopic surveys - particularly those employing integral field spectroscopy (such as MaNGA, KROSS, SAMI, and CALIFA) - also offer exciting perspectives. Resolved three-dimensional analysis of the ionised ISM provides a new window onto star formation and gas kinematics, with facilities now able to target objects through most of the Universe's evolutionary history. Additionally, gas-phase metallicity information reveals how stellar populations have enriched galaxies' ISM with metals. The dramatic improvement in the quantity and quality of metallicity data is also precipitating a new wave of investigation into the physical properties of dust and gas in galaxies, and their chemical evolution. This work is critical to answering challenging questions, such as the origin of the large masses of dust we now observe at very high redshift.

The ISM provides a unifying theme for probing the complex topic of galaxy evolution. By bringing together experts from across these diverse yet intertwined specialities, we hope to exploit the connectedness of the field, and stimulate progress towards unravelling the questions and challenges we face.

We wish members of under-represented groups in astronomy to apply, so that such groups are properly represented amongst our speakers. We commit to upholding the EAS policy regarding diversity and non-discrimination. We will work to create a diverse scientific programme in terms of both speakers and topics. We plan to evaluate submissions blind, with names and affiliations hidden. We will carefully review our selection of invited speakers and contributed talks to ensure they represent an appropriate balance of gender, seniority, subject, and geographical distribution.


  • Invited & review talks
  • Contributed talks
  • Quick-fire (~1 min) poster presentation talks

Invited speakers

  • Susanne Aalto (Chalmers UoT, Gothenburg)
  • Claudia Cicone (INAF Milan)
  • Carlos De Breuck (ESO Garching)
  • Michaela Hirschmann (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris)
  • Kathryn Kreckel (MPIA Heidelberg)
  • Antonino Marasco (ASTRON Dwingeloo)
  • Pasquier Noterdaeme (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris)
  • Andreas Schruba (MPE Garching)
  • Darach Watson (DARK Copenhagen)

Scientific organisers

  • Christopher Clark (Chair, Cardiff University)
  • Michele Cirasuolo (University of Edinburgh)
  • Annalisa De Cia (ESO Garching)
  • Maud Galametz (CEA Paris)
  • Roberto Maiolino (Cavli Institute)
  • Gergö Popping (ESO Garching)
  • Amelie Saintonge (University College London)
  • Freeke van de Voort (HITS / Yale)

Christopher Clark (Chair): Christopher.Clark @

Updated on Wed Dec 20 16:24:03 CET 2017