Letters of Intent for 2015

LoI 2015-182
The Galaxy as a system of systems: An integrative view

Date: 3 August 2015 to 14 August 2015
Location: Honolulu, United States
Contact: David Soderblom (drs@stsci.edu)
Coordinating division: Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe
Co-Chairs of SOC: David Soderblom (STScI)
Ken Freeman (Australian National University)
Chair of LOC: ()



The formation, structure, and evolution of the Milky way.
What M31 tells us about ourselves.
The critical components of our Galaxy and how they interact.



Like other scientists, we tend to take a reductionist approach to problems, separating them into manageable components for detailed study. This comes at the cost of an integrated view of the subject, and in the case of our Galaxy we need a very big "Big Picture" indeed.

Thus the purpose of this meeting is not to go into detail about the subsystems of the Milky Way but instead to ask how they interact with one another and what story they tell about the formation and history of our own Galaxy. Some relevant topics include:

o Sites of star formation and how they feed into the Galaxy.

o The ISM as the feedstock for star formation.

o Star clusters, their lives and dissolution.

o Massive objects in the Milky Way and their dynamical effects.

o The oldest stars of the disks and halo and where they came from and what they tell us of the early years.

A General Assembly seems like an especially good venue for a meeting of this type that will bring together and appeal to a very broad audience.