Student colloquium - Alfred Hopkinson: History of the Interstellar Medium
Info about event
Supervisor: Liv Hornekær
The interstellar medium is a large, fundamental and important part of astrophysics and the universe we inhabit. It currently is being researched in many different areas such as its crucial role in star formation, the origin of life and prebiotic complex organic molecules as well as being the link between stellar and galactic scale astrophysics. However, for the general population and scientific community it is much less well known than other areas of astrophysics such as stellar evolution. Even less is known about the history of how research into the interstellar medium came into being.
The history of the interstellar medium starts as far back as the ancient Greeks who believe in the heavenly fifth element, aether, which made the ‘fixed stars’ and the sphere they were on. From this point research into the interstellar medium is slow and is often done as a result of trying to investigate another astrophysical phenomenon. Research speeds up during the twentieth century and now there are more ways to investigate the void between stars than there ever has been. This presentation will inform you about the history of the discoveries about the interstellar medium, how they were found and their significance.