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G. Kauffman (Max-Planck Institute)
According to the standard theoretical paradigm, the structures observed in the Universe today were formed by the gravitational amplification of small perturbations in an initially Gaussian dark matter density field. Small scale overdensities were the first to collapse, and the resulting objects then merged under the influence of gravity to form larger and larger structures such as clusters and superclusters. Galaxies formed within dense halos of dark matter, where gas was able to reach high enough overdensities to cool, condense and form stars. A new generation of space and ground-based telescopes have provided a wealth of information about the evolution of galaxies from an epoch when the Universe was only a tenth of its present age. In this talk, I will discuss how these observations have influenced our understanding of how galaxies form and evolve. I will argue that many of the broad qualitative trends predicted by the theory appear to be supported by the data, but that much work remains to be done in understanding how star formation and feedback processes can affect the evolution.