Thinkshops since 2000

13th Thinkshop 2016

Near Field Cosmology

Observational cosmology has traditionally focused on the outskirts of the visible universe, with an ever increasing appetite to reach deeper into space and backwards in time. Recently, cosmologists have realized that treasures are buried much closer to home. In the last decade cosmologists have turned into archeologists as they search for fossils and clues on the formation of the Milky Way in the present day structure of nearby objects: so-called Near Field Cosmology and (extra-) galactic archeology The Milky Way and Andromeda are possibly the two galaxies that are best observed compared with any other. Moreover, detailed observations of tiny nearby dwarfs have shed light on the properties of a population of galaxies which can be observed only in our local neighborhood. The sizes and emptiness of the large voids seen in the nearby universe may help to discriminate between different cosmological models. The largest cosmological structures - clusters of galaxies and superclusters can be observed on very large distances however the most detailed observations are available in our cosmic neighborhood.

In order to make full use of the potential of all the excellent observational data of nearby objects it is important to study the formation of the local universe from a theoretical point of view as well. Over the last two decades numerous attempts have been made to use observational data to reconstruct the initial conditions from which the structure of the local universe formed, and to study its evolution.

Abstracts (pdf, 7.4 MB).

12th Thinkshop 2015

The Dynamic Sun – Exploring the Many Facets of Solar Eruptive Events

Erupting prominences/filaments, surges, flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are prominent examples of the dynamic Sun. Multi-wavelength and multi-instrument observations have the potential to reveal highly energetic physical processes on the Sun reaching from the photosphere, over the chromosphere and the transition region, to the corona and beyond. Solar physicists have nowadays access to a suite of new ground-based observing facilities. A powerful fleet of space missions adds more capabilities to investigate magnetic fields, complex plasma flows, and accelerated particle, and thermal properties of solar eruptive events. In the tradition of the series of »Potsdam Thinkshops«, we invite instrument specialists, observers, modellers, and theorists to exchange ideas, to stimulate discussion, to initiate future collaborations among participants, and to attract new users of instruments by showcasing the capabilities. The aim is  to make progress towards a comprehensive description of solar eruptive events effectively aggregating their global properties as well as their highly dynamic fine structure.

11th Thinkshop 2014

Satellite galaxies and dwars in the local group

The local neighborhood surrounding the Milky Way and M31 is teeming with small satellite galaxies whose properties are of immense interest. The aim of the proposed meeting is to form a consensus across theorists and observers of the status of dwarf galaxies, with an aim to understand the successes and failures of current models while simultaneously gauging what we can expect from future missions.

10th Thinkshop 2013

High resolution optical spectroscopy: From instruments to astrophysical models

The scope of this meeting is to bring together the astronomical community that builds and uses high-resolution spectrographs. High spectral resolution is essential to quantify and to constrain the many micro- and macro-scale processes in cosmic plasma. In particular we will emphasize the coupling between predictive numerical simulations and quantitative spectroscopic observations. We organize this meeting in the framework of the series of “Potsdam ThinkShops” as meeting number 10. The venue will be held at the Telegrafenberg science campus of the AIP in Potsdam in May 2013 and will be open for an international professional auditorium as well as students.

Thinkshop 9 9th Thinkshop 2012

Galaxy surveys using Integral Field Spectroscopy: Achievements and Opportunities

The advent of truly large single-fiber spectroscopic as well as multi-wavelength photometric surveys has boosted our understanding of galaxy formation/evolution. The technical possibilities of Integral Field Spectrsocopy have the potential to provide another such boost. The goal of this conference is to provide an overview over the range of topics susceptible to be adressed through IFS surveys. We aim to bring together all significant players involved in on-going or future IFS surveys, to take stock of what has already been achieved, what are the immediate perspectives and what might be promises of the future. We also aim to bring in interested scientists from the community, working both in observations and theory, to help develop awareness of the possibilities and to trigger theoretical effort capable of making full use of the observational advances.

8th Thinkshop 2011

Young and Bright: Understanding High Redshift Structures

The search for high-z galaxies is now entering its maturity, with thousands of sources having being found at z>4. However, both observationally and theoretically, the nature of these sources, their dust enrichment and their impact on the intergalactic medium remain open to debate. The goal of this meeting will be, first, to reach a consensus on our understanding of these objects that have already been observed, and secondly, to summarize the advances expected when state of the art instruments including HST, MUSE, JWST and ALMA come together online.

Thinkshop 7

7th Thinkshop 2011

Magnetic fields in stars and exoplanets - Future directions in observational and theoretical studies

The investigation of magnetic fields of stars and exoplanets is benefiting greatly from recent advances in high-resolution spectroscopy and polarimetry as well as high-performance computing. This conference will bring together active researchers involved in theoretical and observational studies of stellar and exoplanetary magnetic fields. In the tradition of Potsdam Thinkshops, the conference will offer an efficient exchange of latest results and enough room for discussions of future approaches in between the presentations. The meeting focuses in particular on the stimulation of collaborations among the participants.

Thinkshop 6

6th Thinkshop 2009

Open Problems in Galaxy Formation

The formation of galaxies is the result of the complex interaction of many different processes. Observations at different frequencies trace different galactic constituents, while semianalytic models of galaxy formation are an attempt to combine these different aspects into a coherent picture of galaxy formation in a cosmological context. Theoretical arguments and hydrodynamic simulations have brought a new comprehension of the way galaxies accrete and cease to accrete gas. These developments have also renewed interest for some key open problems in galaxy formation: the link between stellar populations and dynamical evolution, the formation of massive star forming galaxies at high redshift, the formation of discs, and the thermal and chemical evolution of the intergalactic and intracluster medium. The workshop "Open Problems In Galaxy Formation" will bring together the different perspectives of theorists and observers from all wavelengths in order to identify the outstanding problems where we can make substantial progress in the next five years, also thanks to new observing facilities such as MUSE, ALMA, and the JWST, and to promote a closer collaboration between theory and observations.

Thinkshop 5

5th Thinkshop 2007

Meridional flow, differential rotation, solar and stellar activity

Meridional flow and its connection to the differential rotation are our main topics as well as magnetic stars, the stability of magnetic fields, and dynamo problems. Observational issues cover helio- and asteroseismology, indirect imaging, and stellar activity surveys. Our current understanding of the magnetohydrodynamics of the solar and stellar interiors shall be discussed, from both a theoretical and an observational point of view.

Thinkshop 4

4th Thinkshop 2006

The role of black holes in galaxy formation and evolution

The discovery that many nearby galaxies contain supermassive black holes and that the black hole mass is proportional to the mass of the host galaxy has stimulated an intense research activity to understand the growth of supermassive black holes in a cosmological perspective. This conference of the Potsdam Thinkhop Series will bring together scientists from both the galaxy formation and the active galactic nucleus community to make a coherent picture emerge.

Thinkshop 3

3rd Thinkshop 2005

Robotic astronomy

The aim of the meeting is to bring together astronomers and technicians from any field in astronomy to review the current status of robotic telescope projects and to discuss the future science cases for such installations. New results from existing robotic telescopes and their ongoing projects will be presented. Part of the "Thinkshop" concept is to jointly think about new scientific projects tailored to the unique capabilities of modern robotic telescopes, small and large.

Thinkshop 2

2nd Thinkshop 2003

The Local Group as a cosmological training sample

The Local Group (LG) is the astronomical environment we can study in most detail. As such it provides the ideal test bed for our ideas of the Universe at large. The goal of this workshop is to bring together experts in all aspects of the LG who are using observations or simulations of the Local Group to constrain models of the growth of structure and galaxy evolution.

Thinkshop 1

1st Thinkshop 2002

Sunspots and Starspots

Differences and analogies of Sunspots and starspots. What could the detailed solar observations tell the stellar colleague and, vice versa, how can stellar data constrain models for solar spots? What is the state-of-the-art in observing and modeling solar and stellar magnetic fields and what is foreseen for the near future?