Symposium S7  30 June - 1 July 2022

Building bridges: The lifecycle of dust and gas in the Milky Way with ALMA and SKA

Aims and scope

Our Galaxy and its immediate neighborhood are the only regions where we can undertake detailed studies of the physics driving the formation and evolution of astrophysical objects throughout the entire life cycle of the interstellar medium (ISM). The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is playing a groundbreaking and fundamental role in the study of a broad range of environments and phenomena due to its unprecedented spatial resolution and sensitivity at (sub-)millimeter wavelengths. At the same time, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is now under construction, and it will provide a unique perspective on our Galaxy, complementary to that of ALMA. The frequency coverage, from 50 MHz to 15 GHz initially, with the prospect of an increase to around 25 GHz, will allow the study of different mechanisms associated with thermal and non-thermal emission from warm and cold gas and dust around young stellar, substellar objects, and evolved stars. In particular, it will enable studies of, on one hand, the cold gas in the dense molecular environments where star formation takes place, and on the other hand, the grain growth at pebble scales in planet forming disks. SKA precursor experiments are already providing a starting point.

Within the life cycle of dust and gas, accretion, fragmentation, feedback, astrochemistry, and temporal changes are common to many astrophysical objects. The respective communities investigating these objects often do not interact - even though they are using many of the same techniques. The goal of this timely symposium is to build bridges between groups studying events of similar nature in the life cycle of dust and gas but at different astronomical scales and in different environments. There will be an emphasis on synergies between the centimeter and (sub)millimeter wavelength ranges, as well as on building bridges to other wavelength ranges and communities. ALMA is already a multidisciplinary observatory, as will be the SKA, and we will offer space for an exchange of experiences, challenges and ideas.


1) Accretion and fragmentation: disks, filaments, streamers. The interplay of accretion and fragmentation shapes most astrophysical phenomena, from galactic scales (formation and fragmentation of molecular clouds, omnipresence of filaments) down to stellar scales (accreting filaments and streamers, formation of protoplanetary disks). Magnetic fields dominate large-scale dynamics and must be dissipated to allow for cloud/core contraction; they play a fundamental role in establishing protostellar disk sizes, and fragmentation levels in cores, as well as in shaping stellar winds in later evolutionary stages.

2) Feedback: jets, winds, turbulence. Feedback regulates the injection and re-distribution of energy in all astrophysical environments, from the earliest phases of star formation up to the final stages of their evolution, as well as from the small scales corresponding to individual stars up to the largest galactic scales in molecular clouds and even the Galaxy itself. With observations of molecules, atoms and ions we can now follow the chemical evolution through the entire life cycle of the interstellar medium - from how dying stars enrich the ISM to the origins of the prebiotic chemistry in our Galaxy.

3) Time-domain astronomy. Astrophysical objects are subject to evolution and change in time. Time-domain astronomy explores the rapid variations observable in human-life time scales.

4) Our Galaxy: ALMA/SKA and synergies (Lunch session). With the next generation observatories such as JWST, ELT, Athena, ngVLA etc. soon coming online, a multi-wavelength/ multi-messenger approach will be crucial in providing a holistic view of the important galactic processes.

Invited speakers

  • Elvire de Beck
  • John Ilee
  • Katharine Johnston
  • Serena Viti
  • Gwen Williams

Scientific organisers

Katharina Immer (co-chair), Jan Forbrich (co-chair); Felipe Alves, Miroslav Barta, Olga Bayandina, Alice Booth, Abhijeet Borkar, Tyler Bourke, Gemma Busquet, Ana Karla Diaz Rodriguez, Josep Girart, Adriano Ingallinera, Silvia Leurini, Ana Lopez Sepulcre, Ivan Marti Vidal, Kazi Rygl, Alvaro Sanchez Monge, Daniel Tafoya


immer @, j.forbrich @

Updated on Fri Feb 04 10:41:54 CET 2022