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An Introduction to Star Formation


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Probing star formation; 3. The ISM: the beginnings of star formation; 4. Molecular clouds: the sites of star formation; 5. Fragmentation and collapse: the road to star formation; 6. Young stars, proto-stars and accretion: building a typical star; 7. The formation of high-mass stars, and their surroundings; 8. By-products and consequences of star formation; Index.

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Ideal for students and researchers alike, this advanced textbook provides a complete overview of star formation.

About the Author

Derek Ward-Thompson is Deputy Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. An observer in the field of molecular clouds and protostars, Professor Ward-Thompson's research interests lie in observing the formation of stars and planets, particularly the very earliest stages of star formation. Anthony Whitworth is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. Professor Whitworth's main area of research lies in the theoretical modelling of the formation of stars and brown dwarfs.


'Star formation is one of the most active research fields in modern astronomy and is also the key to understanding problems as diverse as galaxy evolution and the origin of planets. This book, written by two highly regarded experts, first poses the questions that define the field of star formation and then gives a remarkably comprehensive yet concise survey of the underlying physics. The book provides both an overview suitable for those new to the field and also a convenient handbook for established researchers. It emphasizes both basic principles and established results and will surely remain a standard work for years to come.' David Williams, Emeritus Perren Professor of Astronomy, University College London

'This book presents star formation and interstellar medium studies at a level appropriate for advanced undergraduate and first year graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics programs. This needed text fills the niche between non-technical general overviews and advanced treatments suited for senior graduate students or researchers.' John Bally, Professor of Astronomy, University of Colorado, Boulder

'This well-named book covers most of the ground in a still growing subject. It is well suited to the undergraduate or starting graduate, and as a refresher for professionals working in a different branch of the subject. With a wide-ranging and elementary introduction to bring anyone up to speed, a pleasant blend of observation and theory leads the reader through the entire research area, giving an authoritative and clear picture of our understanding of the subject, and of the tools used in its discovery. To have produced such a coherent picture of a complex area without sacrificing physical rigour is a significant achievement.' Peter Brand, Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics, University of Edinburgh

'The authors, wisely, did not try to write a complete, exhaustive, detailed compendium of all that is known about star formation. Instead, they produced a book that is appropriate for someone who knows three years of undergraduate physics and is learning about star formation for the first time, or is trying to refresh their knowledge of the fundamentals. I strongly recommend that all students taking a first course in star formation get the book and advise professional astrophysicists not already deeply involved in star formation to obtain it for reference.' T. W. Hartquist, University of Leeds

'… the book is a pleasure to read … slim … meant to be digested in a single semester … Ward-Thompson and Whitworth emphasize concepts, illuminated through derivations … the approach [is] successful pedagogically.' Physics Today

'I strongly recommend that all students get the book and advise professional astrophysicists not already deeply involved in star formation to obtain it for reference.' Astronomy & Geophysics

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