IAU Symposium 254: The Galaxy Disk in Cosmological Context
Start date: 09 Jun 2008
Address: The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Numerical simulations based on "concordance cosmology" have made impressive progress towards a consistent explanation of the formation and evolution of structure in the Universe. The paradigm of hierarchical mergers has also been successful in reproducing the properties of galaxy spheroids. However, a number of fundamental discrepancies remain between the predictions of such models and the disk galaxies we observe throughout the universe today.
Yet, spiral galaxies are key ingredients of the universe. Moreover, we live in one that can be studied in unique detail, and dramatic advances have recently been made in studies of the Milky Way and the galaxies of the Local Group. It is timely, therefore, to review our knowledge of the galaxy disk in the global context sketched above, focusing on the Milky Way and its neighbours, and to identify key questions and promising avenues for progress. Discussions at the Symposium will focus on formulating specific projects that can lead to major progress in the near future, using new observational and modelling tools.