The Origin of Stellar Masses
Prof. Mark Krumholz
April 13, 2017 – 3:00 pm – Austin Lecture Theatre (ARTS:159) UWA Campus
The mass distribution of newborn stars, known as the initial mass function (IMF), has a distinct peak at a mass slightly less than that of the Sun. This characteristic stellar mass appears to be nearly invariant across a huge range of star-forming environments within and beyond our Galaxy, and seems to have changed little over most of cosmic time. Explaining its origin and universality is one of the oldest problems in theoretical astrophysics, but a fully successful theory eludes us even today. In this talk, I review theoretical attempts to explain the characteristic mass of stars, and discuss recent progress suggesting that we may be within reach of a solution.