Talks given by high profile astronomers and scientists.

Thursday April 13, 2023
Prof. Jocelyn Bell
Oxford University


Thursday April 7, 2022
Prof. Carlos López Otín
Universidad de Oviedo


En los últimos años, el extraordinario impulso de la Biología Molecular
ha permitido el análisis riguroso y profundo de cuestiones esenciales
acerca de la naturaleza de la vida y de las enfermedades humanas. En
este contexto, los estudios moleculares sobre procesos tan complejos
como el envejecimiento y las enfermedades asociadas al mismo han
empezado a ocupar un lugar destacado en el grupo de problemas
científicos sometidos a una nueva mirada. El genoma humano posee 3.000
millones de nucleótidos y alrededor de 25.000 genes que generan un
universo de mensajes armónicos que hacen posible cada instante de
nuestra vida. ¿Por qué toda esa armonía molecular se pierde y el
organismo envejece y enferma? ¿Podremos en el futuro próximo extender
sustancialmente la longevidad? En esta conferencia se discutirán
trabajos recientes de nuestro laboratorio dirigidos a intentar
proporcionar respuestas a estas preguntas.


Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 835 7743 0683

Passcode: 318048

Tuesday March 8, 2022
Prof. Antonio Córdoba


Mathematics of atmospheric fronts: S.Q.G.(Surface Quasigeostrophic Equation) is a relevant model to understand the evolution of atmospheric fronts. It represents also a mathematical challenge, because of its non-linear and non-local character, which illustrates the rôle of mathematics in the development of science.

This colloquium will be held in person in the Aula

Thursday December 2, 2021
Prof. Roberto Maiolino
Kavli Cambridge


In the local universe most of the stellar mass is in passive galaxies, where star formation is
absent or at very low levels. Understanding what are the mechanisms that have been
responsible for quenching star formation in galaxies, and transforming them into passive,
quiescent systems, is one of the main observational and theoretical challenges of extragalactic
astrophysics. I will give a brief overview of the several possible quenching causes and physical
processes that have been proposed so far, ranging from feedback from black hole accretion and
starburst activity, to effects associated with the large scale environment in which galaxies live.
Although most of these mechanisms and causes play a role in different classes of galaxies and
at different epochs, multi-band observations are providing growing evidences that just a few of
them play the key, dominant role.
I will conclude by providing prospects for further investigating these aspects and tackling open
questions with the next generation of observing facilities.

Thursday January 21, 2021
Prof. Corinne Charbonnel
University of Geneva


Globular clusters (GCs) are fascinating objects nearly as old as the Universe that provide insight on a large variety of astrophysical and cosmological processes. However, their formation and their early and long-term evolution are far from being understood. In particular, the classical paradigm describing GCs as large systems of coeval stars formed out of chemically homogeneous material has been definitively swept away by recent high-precision spectroscopic and deep photometric observations. These data have provided undisputed evidence that GCs host multiple stellar populations, with very peculiar chemical properties. In this talk, I will review the properties of these multiple populations, before presenting the different scenarios that have been proposed to describe their formation. I will focus on the (many) current theoretical issues and open questions. 

Thursday May 28, 2020
Prof. Avishai Dekel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


This talk will address the preferred mass and time for galaxy formation, in dark-matter haloes similar to that of the Milky way but when the Universe was a few Gigayears old. It is proposed that this is due to the interplay between two mechanisms, first *supernova* feedback that removes gas from the galaxy, and second *hot gas* in the deep potential well of massive haloes that suppresses cold gas supply to the galaxy, the two being effective in galaxies of lower and higher masses respectively. Cosmological simulations reveal that the same mechanisms are responsible for a robust sequence of events were galaxies undergo a dramatic gaseous *compaction*, sometimes caused by mergers, into a compact star-forming “blue nugget”. This triggers inside-out *quenching* of star formation, which is maintained by a hot massive halo aided by black-hole feedback, leading to todays passive elliptical galaxies. The blue-nugget phase is responsible for drastic transitions in the main galaxy structural, kinematic and compositional properties. In particular, the growth of the *black hole* in the galaxy center, first suppressed by supernova feedback when below the critical mass, is boosted by the compaction event and keeps growing once the halo is massive enough to lock the supernova ejecta by its deep potential well and the hot halo. The compaction events also trigger the formation of extended rings in high-z massive galaxies. These events all occur near the same characteristic halo mass, giving rise to the highest efficiency of galaxy formation and black-hole growth at this magic mass and time.


Zoom link:

Thursday January 30, 2020
Prof. Javier Garcia Campayo
Universidad de Zaragoza


Mindfulness o atención plena es un estado de la mente que permite estar atento al momento presente con aceptación. Y describe también la técnica psicológica que permite alcanzar este estado. Mindfulness se asocia a una gran bienestar físico y psicológico y por eso su práctica se está extendiendo a nivel internacional y se aplica en el área de la salud, la educación y las organizaciones.
En el coloquio sentaremos las bases teóricas de mindfulness, realizaremos algunas prácticas básicas y analizaremos los mecanismos de acción y la utilidad de mindfulness en el día a día.

Friday December 13, 2019
Prof. J. R. Kuhn
IfA, Hawaii


We should find life beyond the solar system ("exolife") within a decade. This will require optical instruments that can perform exoplanet direct imaging.  There are good reasons to expect that telescopes from the ground will lead this search. Unfortunately, none of the currently envisioned large telescopes are optimal for detecting and measuring the emitted or reflected starlight from life-bearing exoplanets. This talk will describe what a 20-100m-class optical telescope would look like and could do if it were designed to solve exoplanet imaging problems. Such a telescope could be initiated today using technologies that are either currently available or under vigorous development.

Thursday December 12, 2019
Dr. Marc Pinsonneault
Ohio State university


Time-domain space missions have revolutionized our understanding of stellar physics and stellar populations. Virtually all evolved stars can be detected as oscillators in missions such as Kepler, K2, TESS and PLATO.  Asteroseismology, or the study of stellar oscillations, can be combined with spectroscopy to infer masses, radii and ages for very large samples of stars.  This asteroseismic data can also be used to train machine learning tools to infer ages for even larger stellar population studies, sampling a large fraction of the volume of the Milky Way galaxy. In this talk I demonstrate that asteroseismic radii are in excellent agreement with those inferred using Gaia and spectroscopic data; this demonstrates that the current asteroseismic data is precise and accurate at the 1-2% level.  Major new catalogs for Kepler and K2 data are nearing completion, and I present initial results from both. We find unexpected age patterns in stars though to be chemically old, illustrating the power of age information for Galactic archeology.  Prospects for future progress in the TESS era will also be discussed.

Thursday December 5, 2019
Prof. Raffaella Morganti
ASTRON, Netherlands


Our view of the gas and its physical conditions in the central region of AGN has been enriched by the discover of fast and massive outflows of HI and molecular gas. These outflows can be driven by radiation/winds but also by the interaction of the radio plasma with the ISM. Understanding the origin and quantifying their impact requires to trace their location and derive their physical conditions (density of the gas, mass, mass outflow rate and kinetic energy of the outflow etc.). Particularly interesting has been the finding that in the first phase of their life, jet in radio galaxies can be particularly effective in driving such outflows. This crucial phase is at the heart of the idea of feedback, therefore particularly relevant for studying feedback in action.


In this talk, I will present some of the results we have obtained to trace jet-driven HI and molecular gas outflows down to scales ranging from hundred to tens of pc. The impact of low-power radio jets will be discussed and the comparison with the predictions from numerical simulations will also be presented.

Outflows of up to few hundred Msun/yr have been found in molecular gas using ALMA while the HI observed with VLBI is showing that the outflowing gas is clumpy as also predicted from numerical simulations. I will describe the kinematics of the gas and its conditions and the relevance they may have for feedback.    

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