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Space Molecules - Latest Findings in Astrochemistry

Keith Orrell
School of Chemistry, University of Exeter

The lecture will present a review of some of the latest findings in astrochemistry. It will commence with  a general description of the Interstellar Medium (ISM), including the interaction between stars and the ISM. The highly anisotropic and thermodynamically unstable nature of the ISM will be stressed.
Cold, dark nebulae (dark molecular clouds) are the most important sources of neutral and charged  molecules, and examples of such nebulae will be shown. The very latest list of molecular species (>140 species) will be provided, and the important role of dust grains as templates for molecular formation will  be examined. Many of these cosmic molecules are highly unusual and unstable under terrestrial conditions.
The detection methods of atoms and molecules in the ISM will then be described These particularly  include absorption and emission spectra in the visible/UV, infrared, microwave/millimetre wave, and  radio regions of the total spectrum.
A brief outline of the complex gas-phase interstellar reaction schemes will be given, and the important  roles that molecules and dust grains play in supporting star formation will be included.
The conclusion section of the talk will include a postscript  that highlights the unconventional and forward looking thinking of Professor Sir Fred Hoyle in both  astrochemistry and in theories of the origin of life.


2009 May 20, 14:00

Centro de AstrofÝsica da Universidade do Porto (Auditorium)
Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto

Instituto de Astrof├şsica e Ci├¬ncias do Espa├žo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Funda├ž├úo para a Ci├¬ncia e a Tecnologia
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