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Evidence for a non-universal stellar initial mass function

Madusha L. P. Gunawardhana
Leiden Observatory

The stellar initial mass function (IMF) describes the distribution in stellar masses produced from a burst of star formation. For more than 60 years, the implicit assumption underpinning most areas of research involving the IMF is that it is universal, regardless of time and environment. Over the past decade, however, there have been numerous extragalactic explorations suggesting a variation or an evolution in the IMF. A variable IMF has a significant impact on a wide variety of galaxy evolution studies, all of which rely on assumptions about the slope of the IMF. I will review the growing range of techniques used to infer the IMF in extragalactic studies, their strengths and weaknesses and the different regimes in which they are applicable, as well as the recent evidence for a star formation rate dependence of the high-mass slope of the IMF.

2019 March 27, 13:30

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

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia