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Department of Physics



  • Astrochemistry - From Laboratory Studies to Astronomical Observations - (Pacifichem 2005 - Symposium 47) Dec. 18 - 20, 2005, Honolulu, Hawai'i

    The formation of molecules in extraterrestrial environments has fascinated scientists since the pioneering detection, of CH and CN in interstellar space. We now know of about 130 species, ranging in complexity from diatomics such as molecular hydrogen to polyatomics like the sugar glycolaldehyde, benzene, and cyanopentaacetylene, which have been identified as gas-phase constituents of extraterrestrial environments. Nevertheless, many facets of the question "How do these molecules arise?" remain unanswered or contentious. This symposium focuses on the interdisciplinary field of astrochemistry, bringing together speakers from the fields of laboratory astrochemistry (dynamics, kinetics, and spectroscopy), astrochemical modeling (physicists), theoretical astrochemistry (computational chemists), and observational astrochemistry (astronomers). By focusing on the interplay between observational data, kinetic modeling, and fundamental investigations of the details of specific molecular processes, we seek also to evaluate the emerging generalized concepts on the formation of astrochemically important molecules on the molecular level. Furthermore, by exploring the current boundaries of astrochemical knowledge, we can more effectively design new laboratory experiments under well-defined conditions (and recommend promising directions for further astronomical searches) to resolve critical unanswered aspects of molecular synthesis in extraterrestrial space on the molecular level.
    [ Website]

  • IAU Symposium 231 : Astrochemistry - Recent Successes and Current Challenges - Aug. 29 - Sep. 2, 2005

    The IAU will hold the next in its series of Astrochemistry Symposia between August 29 and September 2, 2005. Entitled 'Astrochemistry Throughout the Universe: Recent Successes and Current Challenges', the conference will take place at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, on the Pacific Coast near Monterey in California. The conference is being organized by Caltech.
    [ Abstracts]

  • 'Bumpy Space Dust' Explains Origin of Most Common Molecule in Universe - Jul. 2005

    Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison once said that the most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. While the verdict is still out on the volume of stupidity, scientists have long known that hydrogen is indeed by far the most abundant element in the universe. When they peer through their telescopes, they see hydrogen in the vast clouds of dust and gas between stars --- especially in the denser regions that are collapsing to form new stars and planets. But one mystery has remained: Why is much of that hydrogen in molecular form --- with two hydrogen atoms bonded together --- rather than its single atomic form? Where did all that molecular hydrogen come from? Ohio State University researchers, including Distinguished University Professor Eric Herbst, recently decided to try to figure it out. For the complete story, see OSU-Research News This research was also featured in Nature. For the complete story, see Nature.
    [ physics dep. news]

  • Mini Symposium : Large Astronomical Molecules - Jun. 22 - Jun. 24, 2005

    This is one of special sessions in the 60th International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy held at OSU. Eric Herbst, The Ohio State University, and Lew Snyder, University of Illinois, are organizing a mini-symposium on astrophysical applications titled, "Large Astronomical Molecules." Invited speakers include Dominique Bockelee-Morvan, Observatoire de Paris a Meudon; Mike Hollis, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Christine Joblin, CNRS; and Peter Sarre, University of Nottingham.
    [ session schedule]

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