ISIMA 2011: Star and Planet formation

KIAA Beijing, June 27th - August 5th, 2011.

The 2011 ISIMA was dedicated to the study of "Star and Planet Formation", and took place at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University. ISIMA 2011 was a tremendous scientific and cultural experience for all those who attended. We are indebted to the Kavli Institute at Beijing for their wonderful hospitality.

Star formation is one of the most important outstanding problem in astrophysics. It has fundamental implications for all astrophysical subdisciplines from cosmology to planet formation. It is also one of the most complex and challenging problems in computational astrophysics. Nuclear reactions within stars are the only significant source of non-gravitational power in the cosmos, and the rate and manner in which this energy is released controls the structure and evolution of galaxies and the synthesis of heavy elements. Decades of observations have yielded a wide variety of empirical rules about star formation. By contrast quantitative and predictive theories of how stars and stellar cluster form in turbulent, clumpy molecular clouds are still in their infancy, and the processes that determine the rate of star formation and the origin of the universal initial stellar mass function and the question of how stellar energetic feedback regulates star formation in galaxies are still poorly understood

In parallel, the recent detection of extrasolar planets around a large percentage of observed stars suggests that planet formation is a very common by-product of star formation. While it is commonly accepted that most of the infalling matter must pass through a proto-stellar accretion disk before accreting onto the star, the mechanisms by which some of this matter (gas and solids) is left behind to form planets remains controversial. Given the available observations, theories must explain how planets form within the typically-observed lifetime of disks, and how the planet formation process, and subsequent planet-disk interaction, can result in the observed diversity in planetary systems dynamics.

ISIMA 2011 brought together computational astrophysicists, theorists and observers to address some of these fundamental questions in "Star and Planet formation". The main lecturers for the 1st week program were:

  • Eugene Chiang (UC Berkeley)
  • Lee Hartmann (U. Michigan)
  • Chris Matzner (U. Toronto)


Scientific program:


Scientific Organising Committee

  • Andi Burkert, Computational and theoretical astrophysics, University of Munich
  • Pascale Garaud, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, UC Santa Cruz
  • Ralf Klessen, Center of Astronomy, University of Heidelberg
  • Doug Lin, Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz and KIAA Beijing
  • Shude Mao, National Astronomical Observatories of China; University of Manchester, UK
  • Subhanjoy Mohanty, Imperial College London
  • Yanqin Wu, University of Toronto


Local Organising Committee

  • Pascale Garaud, general questions about ISIMA
  • Ning Zhang, local administrative questions (for questions about KIAA, visa, reimbursement)
  • Thijs Kouwenhoven, faculty/postdoc liaison (for all questions from senior participants about life in Beijing and the KIAA)
  • Matthias Gritschneder, student liaison (for all questions from students about life in Beijing, ISIMA and the KIAA)
  • Shangfei Liu, KIAA technical and web support
  • Fu-Guo Xie