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Galaxy Evolution in the ALMA Era - The Baryon Cycle and Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies

Objective

A thorough understanding of the processes regulating the conversion of gas into stars is key to understand structure formation in the universe and the evolution of galaxies through cosmic time. Despite significant progress over the past years, the properties of the actual dense, star forming gas across normal disk galaxies remain largely unknown. This will be changed with EMPIRE, a comprehensive 500hr large program led by the PI at the IRAM 30m mm-wave telescope. EMPIRE will provide for the first time extended maps of a suite of dense gas tracers (e.g., HCN, HCO+, HNC) for a sample of nearby, star-forming, disk galaxies.

By means of detailed analysis, including radiative transfer and chemical modelling, we will constrain a variety of physical quantities (in particular gas densities). We will relate these directly to the local star formation efficiency and to a variety of other dynamical, stellar and local ISM properties from existing pan-chromatic mapping of these galaxies (HI, IR, CO, UV, optical) to answer the question: ``how is star formation regulated across galaxy disks?''. By determining true abundance variations, we will contribute key constraints to the nascent field of galaxy-scale astrochemistry. Detailed comparisons to data for star forming regions in the Milky Way will link core, cloud and galactic scales towards a coherent view of dense gas and star formation. These results will provide an essential anchor point to Milky Way and high redshift observations alike.

Analysis, interpretation and modelling of this complex data set requires a team of two postdocs and two PhD students. The PI has demonstrated his ability to successfully lead a research group through his current position as a DFG funded Emmy-Noether group leader. In combination with his widely recognized previous work and his expertise in mm-wave astronomy and ISM/star formation studies, the PI and the proposed group are uniquely positioned to make significant impact during this ERC grant.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/astrochemistry
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/physical cosmology/galaxy formation and evolution
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/galactic astronomy

Call for proposal

ERC-2016-COG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Host institution

RHEINISCHE FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAT BONN
Address
Regina Pacis Weg 3
53113 Bonn
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 411 300,44

Beneficiaries (2)

RHEINISCHE FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAT BONN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 1 411 300,44
Address
Regina Pacis Weg 3
53113 Bonn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
RUPRECHT-KARLS-UNIVERSITAET HEIDELBERG

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 248 150,56
Address
Seminarstrasse 2
69117 Heidelberg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments