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Determining the relationship between turbulence and star formation, using statistical comparisons between large observational datasets and a large ensemble of theoretical models


In this grant proposal for joint FAPESP-UNSW funding, we propose to determine the role that turbulence plays in shaping the formation and structure of molecular clouds in the Milky Way Galaxy, and how this influences star formation at the scale of individual star forming clumps and cores. We will accomplish this by comparing large observational data sets of molecular clouds (from PI Cunningham; UNSW) with numerical models for the interstellar medium that include the role that turbulence and magnetic fields may play in its evolution, [from PI Falceta-Gonçalves; USP]. Our methods for comparison will draw on the nascent field of data science, by developing tools to compare the observational and theoretical data sets efficiently and effectively, thus constraining which physical models for star formation and Galactic evolution are plausible. (AU)

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