The secular evolution of self-gravitating systems over cosmic ages

Workshop at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris

May 24th - 27th 2016






Scientific rationale

The dynamics and evolution of self-gravitating systems over cosmic time is currently the subject of renewed interest, motivated by the combination of two factors. First, we now have the well established ΛCDM paradigm for the formation of structures. This allows us to quantify precisely their statistical environment. Second, recent theoretical work allows us to quantify precisely the effect of external disturbance and discreteness noise on orbit distributions over cosmic time.
Numerous dynamical challenges are now ready to be re-examined in much greater detail than before. Examples include: the secular evolution of the metallicity - dispersion relationship in galactic disks, the issue of disc thickening by molecular clouds and/or spiral waves, the stellar dynamical evolution of the Galactic center, the evolution of proto-planetary disks of debris, etc. In all these cases the rate of diffusion through phase space depends on the square of the gravitational susceptibility, with the consequence that self-gravity often causes orbital diffusion to be much faster than predicted by traditional estimates.
Computing the secular evolution of self-gravitating systems is difficult. It requires intricate theoretical models, complex numerical experiments and a good knowledge of the physical processes involved. In order to link these three areas of expertise - theory, numerics and observation - it is essential to establish a close interaction between experts in the field. This is the purpose of this workshop.

SOC: James Binney, Olivier Bienaymé, Pierre-Henri Chavanis, Walter Dehnen, Mir Abbas Jalali, John Kormendy, John Magorrian, Jerry Sellwood, Martin Weinberg

LOC: Jean-Baptiste Fouvry, Olivia Leroy, Christophe Pichon, Dmitry Pogosyan, Simon Prunet, Sopharith Tep