Starbursts are regions of unusually rapid star formation, often located in the central parts of galaxies. They differ from more normal regions of star formation in terms of the throughput of mass and the rapidity with which the gas is consumed. In the last twenty years, extensive observational data at most wavelengths have become available on starbursts, but many important issues remain to be addressed, observationally as well as theoretically. How are strong episodes of star formation triggered? What is the quantity of gas converted into stars during bursts? What is the initial mass function of stars in these events? How does the feedback from stars influence the interstellar medium and self-regulate star formation? What is the subsequent chemical and photometric evolution? How do starbursts rule the formation and evolution of galaxies? In recent years, many observational data at different wavelengths (optical, radio, infrared, X-ray) have become available. However, these observations are still fragmentary in the sense that different classes of objects have been observed in different ways, and the coverage is not consistently deep or complete. As a consequence, an overall observational picture of starburst galaxies is missing, and theoretical understanding and modelling have remained highly tentative. The purpose of the school Starbursts: Triggers, Nature, and Evolution was to gather theorists and observers with complementary approaches to the starburst phenomenon, in order to summarize the state-of-the-art of the observations and models, emphasizing the consistency of the various viewpoints.
Table of ContentsFundamental Aspects of Star Formation in Galaxies.- From Giant Molecular Clouds to Compact Cores.- Elements of Hydrodynamics Applied to the Interstellar Medium.- Isolated and Clustered Star Formation: Observations and Theoretical Models.- Stellar Physics and Starburst Evolution.- Starburst Triggering and Environmental Effects.- From Star To Galaxy Formation.