Ewine F. van Dishoeck

Leiden University

Election Year: 2001
Primary Section: 12, Astronomy
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

My research interests focus on molecules in interstellar space and their role in the formation of new stars and planets. Trained as a chemist, I have used ab initio quantum chemical techniques to study the photodissociation dynamics of small molecules. The calculated cross sections and rates have been used to construct comprehensive models of the physical and chemical structure of interstellar clouds under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. More recently my research has shifted to star-forming regions. My group carries out molecular line observations at submillimeter and infrared wavelengths, using a variety of ground- and space-based telescopes. Both gas-phase and solid-state species (in particular ices) are studied. A new set of radiative transfer codes has been developed to analyze the molecular excitation under different astrophysical situations and infer accurate abundances from the observational data. Simulations of the processes that occur in icy grain mantles are carried out in the Leiden laboratory for astrophysics. The observations, models, and experiments provide new insights into the evolution of the molecular abundances from interstellar clouds to new solar systems and they emphasize the importance of molecules as diagnostics of the star- and planet-formation process.

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