Computational AstroChemistry - a new era?

Department of Physcs and Astronomy
University College London
6–7 January 2009

The huge expansion in the UK's HEI computing power has set the scene for a large expansion in the amount and complexity of astrochemical modelling that can now be undertaken. The STFC High Performance Computing award to UCL and Manchester to support Astrochemical data modelling for the JCMT spectral line survey programme and Herschel guaranteed programme observations further reinforce this.

Computation can now also be seen for the first time as a viable method for the accurate calculation of large numbers of kinetic rate constants.

All this makes our Laboratory Astrophysics programmes more vital than ever in providing key constraints and data for rate constants and chemical process, as well as becoming the focus for lab measurements of real astrophysical processes.

This meeting discussed areas such as:

  • Using the time variability of astrochemical models to determine and predict the chemical, dynamical and evolutionary state of molecular regions.

  • Putting chemistry into dynamical and radiative models and vice versa.

  • Ab initio calculations of chemical data, in particular kinetic rate constants for surface reactions.

  • Data Modelling:

    • what surprises could the JCMT SLS and Herschel data have in store for us?

    • what results have challenged astrochemical models?

    • what new results have come from modelling observations?

  • Lab astrophysics: Keeping our feet on the ground and doing "real" astrochemistry?

Programme and speakers

  • Serena Viti discussed the future of computational astrochemistry.

  • Tom Millar and Tom Hartquist discussed both present and future astrochemical models.

  • Ben Slater outlined current ab initio techniques to cacluate kinetic rate data.

  • Eric Herbst, Ian Smith and Valentine Wakelam discussed which key kinetic rates need to be measured/calculated and the impact of poor kinetic data on Astrochemical models.

  • Christine Joblin and Ian Sims discussed the impact Lab Astrochemistry has already had on our astrochemical models.

  • Jenny Hatchell, Matt Redman and Malcolm Gray discussed new results from the JCMT surveys, what issues face data modellers due to large surveys, and discuss recent improvements in our spectral line radiative transfer methods.

Full programme.


A limited number of student bursaries were available from the Astrophysical Chemistry Group to assist the attendance of young scientists.