The birth and evolution of stars and planets is of key interest for understanding our universe. Stars are born when parts of dense molecular clouds collapse under the force of gravitation. The star that is formed is initially deeply embedded in the gas cloud it formed from, and develops a disc through which more material is added to the star, and which also is the birth place of planets. The formation process also leads to fast outflows, often in very narrow beams ('jets'). The disc persists for many tens of millions of years, and in some cases even full grown stars are still surrounded by a disc made of mostly rocks or pebbles ('debris disks').

The actual research on star formation in Stockholm focuses on the observational characteristics of the discs, both around very young and somewhat older stars. These objects are studied with a multi-wavelength approach, ranging from the optical via the infrared to high frequency radio waves, which allows us to study the dust and molecule content of these disks.

Astrobiology is a cross-disciplinary research area which is trying to understand the conditions for the emergence of life in the Universe. Since the formation and evolution of planets, and complex molecules play an important role for the origin of life, we are also part of the Stockholm University Astrobiology Centrum, together with Depts. of Physics, Geological Sciences, and Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics.

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