Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usNews and EventsEvents and open days

Blaauw lecture 2015

When:Tu 10-11-2015 20:00 - 21:30
Where:Infoversum, Vrydemalaan 2, 9713 WS Groningen

On Tuesday, November 10, the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute organizes the 16th Blaauw lecture in full dome theater Infoversum. Prof. Mark Krumholz (University of California, Santa Cruz) speaks about the birth of stars in our universe.

Blaauw lecture

Each year an international leading astronomer is elected as Blaauw professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The chair is named after the famous Groningen astronomer Professor Adriaan Blaauw (1914-2010). Part of the chair is the Blaauw lecture, a lecture for the general public by the Blaauw professor. The Blaauw professor of this year is Mark Krumholz, professor of astronomy at the University of California at Santa Cruz (USA). On November 10 he will give an English lecture for the general public about the birth of stars.

The birth of Suns

We’ve all learned that space is an empty vacuum, but it’s not. The space between the stars in our Galaxy contains, on average, about 1 atom per cubic centimeter. That’s a better vacuum than the best vacuum chamber we know how to make, but there are a lot of cubic centimeters in interstellar space, so the mass of all the gas between the stars adds up to about 10% of the mass of all the stars put together. The temperature of this gas varies enormously from place to place in the Galaxy, with temperatures as high as millions of degrees and as low as a few degrees above absolute zero. In the coldest regions of interstellar space, over millions of years gravity is able to draw the atoms together into immense clouds that ultimately condense into clusters of new stars. In our Galaxy, this process produces stars at a rate of about 1 new Sun per year, the stars it makes are typically the size of the Sun or a little smaller. While we understand how this happens in general outline, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. What sets the rate at which stars form? What determines the final sizes of the individual stars? Where did our Sun form, and what happened to its siblings, the stars that formed out of the same cloud? In this talk I will describe what we currently know, and what we don’t, about the birth of new Suns.

Mark Krumholz received his PhD in 2005 from the University of California, Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral work at Princeton University. Since 2008 he has been a professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and in December 2015 he will move to a new position at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Australian National University.


This lecture will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 20:00 - 21:30 at the Infoversum, Vrydemalaan 2 in Groningen. The lecture will be in English and admission is free. More information:

printView this page in: Nederlands