AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 31 Highlights in Laboratory Astrophysics
Topical Session, Wednesday, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, June 1, 2005, 102 D

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[31.17] Chemical Models of Molecular Clouds

E.A. Bergin (University of Michigan)

I will discuss our current understanding of molecular cloud chemistry. I will highlight two areas of interest that will benefit from additional laboratory scrutiny. (1) Current observations and models point towards significant abundance structure in dense pre-stellar environments. An understanding of this structure is a pre-requisite for deciphering the true initial conditions of star formation. This is a new and exciting area, where chemistry is used as a powerful tool to constrain the physics of star formation. (2) The emerging field of astrobiology points to potential links between chemistry in space and the origin of life. In this regard I will present our current understanding of the formation of water and complex organics in the dense interstellar medium.

This author acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (AST 03-35207).

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