Dynamical Evolution of Dense Stellar Systems

International Astronomical Union Symposium 246

5-9 September 2007, Capri-Italy 

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Dense stellar systems are an interface between dynamics, stellar evolution, formation of galaxies and provide us with an ideal laboratory to understand many different aspects of these important fields as well as to explore the interplay between them. A wealth of observational data have now provided firm observational evidence showing that the dynamical evolution  of a cluster, its structural and kinematical properties, the properties of its stellar population, the abundance of exotic objects such as pulsars, X-rays sources, blue stragglers are closely related to each other: a full understanding of the evolution of  star clusters can not be reached without properly considering the interplay between stellar dynamics and stellar evolution. An equally large amount of observational data from studies focusing on star  cluster systems in the Galaxy and in external galaxies have allowed us to explore the dependence of a number of properties  of globular cluster systems on the type and the properties of the host galaxy. These studies have convincingly shown that the role played by the host galaxy in the formation and evolution of star clusters is an important additional element along with the effects of stellar dynamics, stellar evolution and their complex interplay.


The complete study of the formation and evolution of star clusters is a very challenging task which requires the collaboration and the exchange of ideas of astronomers and physicists with observational and theoretical expertise in Galactic and extra-galactic astronomy, stellar dynamics, hydrodynamics and stellar evolution. Expertise on the development of special-purpose hardware and software and, more in general, on many aspects of computational physics also plays a key role in this endeavor.

This symposium will cover all the aspects of the study of star clusters with particular emphasis on the interplay between them and on the comparison between observations and simulations.