Organic chemistry around young high-mass stars: Observational and theoretical

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Astronomers know that stars much bigger than the sun (high-mass stars) exist, but it is unclear how they formed. In my research, I look at the chemicals in gas around high-mass stars that are still forming. I use special telescopes like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) that see light from cold dust and gas that is hidden from normal telescopes by this dust. My two goals are: first, to better understand how high-mass stars form by looking at what chemicals surround young stars; and second, to understand how chemistry happens in space.
Much of my thesis is dedicated to the first goal, where I study a multiple-star system that has different chemicals in different parts of it. This is especially interesting because such difference in chemistry is unexpected. Though computer-based models, I see that this is possible for the specific chemical difference that was detected if the different parts have a small age difference of about 2000 years (a small amount of time in astronomy).
For the second goal, I study several different young stars and how the extent and movement of one chemical (formamide) in the gas surrounding the stars compares to its two possible parent chemicals. This is important astrochemical work because there is debate about whether formamide is formed in ice and melts off once it becomes warm (from one parent) or in already warm gas (from the other parent). Formamide itself is important because it leads to amino acids and other important molecules of life.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • van der Tak, Floris, Supervisor
  • Barthel, Pieter, Supervisor
Award date12-Oct-2018
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1004-3
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1003-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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