Scientific rationale

Can we establish a coherent picture of the role of the magnetic field in the star-formation sequence across time and spatial scale, in spite of the diverse observational techniques and analysis tools used to observe magnetic fields in molecular clouds, cores, protostars, disks and young stars arriving on the main sequence ?
While it is believed that magnetic fields play important roles in star formation processes, in particular to overcome both the angular momentum and magnetic flux problems, polarimetry from the optical to the centimeter wavelengths has been so far the most powerful observing technique to study them. This Focus Meeting aims at triggering a synergetic reflection on how to compare, combine, and synthesize observational and theoretical knowledge of the end-to-end role of the magnetic fields in the formation of stars. We hope to sample the landscape of state-of-the-art observations and models of magnetic fields at the various stages and scales of the star-formation process, from molecular clouds to young stars reaching the ZAMS.

In this Focus Meeting we wish to gather the different communities working with magnetized models and polarimetric observations of the various stages and objects along the star formation sequence. The goal is to discuss how to compare constraints on magnetic fields at different evolutionary stages and physical scales such that we can establish a coherent view of their key role in the multi-scale process of star formation. Combining observational results and theoretical expectations coming from diverse techniques used in different communities is complex, so we especially welcome contributions that will emphasize how different measurements of the magnetic fields can be compared and interpreted into a coherent picture despite widely varying observing techniques, and the very different objects and physical scales that are involved all along the star formation sequence.

The Focus meeting will stretch over two days at the end of the 30th IAU General Assembly in Vienna, on August 30-31 2018. We expect to be able to accommodate about 20 talks and unlimited number of posters.

A wildly disorganized magnetic field very near a newly emerging protostar (C. Hull et al. 2017. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF; D. Berry)

Contact: iau2018.fm4@gmail.com