The XXIII Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics, organized by the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), focuses on the secular evolution of galaxies. The WS welcomes a maximum of 60 PhD students and young Post-Docs, and provides a unique opportunity for the participants to broaden their knowledge in this key field of Astronomy.

Scientific Rationale

NGC 4414
NGC 4414 Galaxy in Coma Berenices

The formation and evolution of galaxies is one of the most important topics under study in modern astrophysics. Over the last decade in particular, with the advent of large observing facilities and surveys, galaxies have become even more prominent in our understanding of the Universe and its evolution. This Winter School is dedicated to the detailed study of secular evolution in galaxies. This describes the relatively slow evolution induced primarily by internal processes such as the actions of spiral arms, bars, ovals, galactic winds, black holes and dark matter haloes. Secular evolution therefore plays an important part in the evolution of spiral galaxies, with one of its main consequences being the formation of galactic bulges.

The notion of secular evolution in galaxies has been around since the late 1970's, but has recently become a major focus of astrophysical research. This is due to a number of reasons, but mostly to the availability of multiple new observational tools, for instance deep near-IR imaging at high resolution, high spatial resolution HST imaging, and two-dimensional integral field spectroscopy for large samples of galaxies. It has also been realised that the study of internal evolution in galaxies is key to understanding the validity of cosmological models of galaxy formation and initial evolution. Such models must reproduce the main characteristics of galaxies seen at the present epoch. The study of the detailed structure of nearby galaxies, as well as that of the Milky Way, are crucial in this respect.

This Winter School aims to bring together in a relaxed working atmosphere a number of the leading scientists working in this field and PhD students and recent postdocs. It will tackle many aspects of secular galaxy evolution, covering multi-wavelength observations as well as theory. 

Organizing Committee