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Title: The initial distribution of stars
Author: Bressert, Eli Walter
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 8090
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
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The primary focus of my PhD is to quantify the spatial distribution of star-forming environments from optical to radio wavelengths using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory. Towards the end of my PhD study I have developed theoretical models. With these observational and theoretical avenues I have led a series of research projects to (1) quantify the initial spatial structure of pre-stellar cores and proto-stars, (2) test whether massive stars can form in isolation or not, (3) and develop a theoretical model on how young massive clusters form. These research projects have been fruitful as my collaborators and I have shown that pre-stellar cores and stars form in a smooth continuum of surface densities from a few to thousands of stars per pc^2. These two works have important implications on our understanding of what a young stellar cluster is and how star forming environments can evolve to form field star populations or gravitationally bound clusters. In my second study my collaborators and I found evidence for isolated massive star formation in the active star forming region 30 Doradus, in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The result impacts the field of the initial mass function and star formation models. Massive stars forming in isolation is consistent with a stochastically sampled initial mass function. Additionally, the result would put constraints on theoretical models on massive star formation. Continuing my work on massive star forming environments my collaborators and I have developed a theoretical model on how young massive clusters form. From the models we argue that feedback energies can be contained by the gravitational potential well of the massive progenitors. Furthermore, we predict the physical properties the massive cluster progenitors in terms of initial gas mass, radii and flux brightness to enable a search for these objects in Galactic plane surveys and upcoming telescopes. Using the common thread of spatial distribution analysis of star formation I describe my future research plans, which entails studies on extragalactic scales in the conclusion.
Supervisor: Patience, Jenny ; Bastian, Nate ; Testi, Leonardo ; Bate, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: star formation ; cluster formation ; initial mass function