A Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by: Haley Gomez (Cardiff) haley.gomez<at>astro.cf.ac.uk , Mikako Matsuura (UCL) mikako<at>star.ucl.ac.uk and Robert Kennicutt (Cambridge) robk<at>ast.cam.ac.uk
Summary: Dust grains are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium of galaxies. They are responsible for the formation of molecular hydrogen and for absorbing and re-emitting up to 90% of the energy from galaxies, as well as providing an effective coolant for star formation. Although important in a number of astrophysical processes, the origin and consequently the chemical make-up and emission properties of dust grains is largely unknown. Since the launch of the Herschel Space Observatory and Planck Satellite in 2009, we are beginning to understand far more about the origin and composition of dust. This has consequences for understanding the physical properties of dust grains, which in turn is crucial to correctly interpret results from studies of galaxy evolution and star formation with Herschel, and ultimately ALMA.
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