Research Training Network - FP6


5-8 May 2008 : Molecular Universe: an International Meeting on Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium, France"

August 28 - September 1, 2008 : Summer School on Laboratory Astrophysics, Boppard, Germany

September 1 - September 5, 2008 : Final Annual Network Meeting, Boppard,Germany

The Molecular Universe is a highly interdisciplinary network of European researchers in 21 institutes in 9 countries studying the physics and chemistry of molecules in space. The network combines experts in the areas of laboratory spectroscopy. laboratory astrochemistry, molecular quantum mechanical studies, and astronomical modelling of species of astrophysical relevance.
This consortium has been selected under the European Community's Sixth Framework Program as a Marie Curie Research Training Network.The network contract was concluded between the European Commission and the consortium on 1st September 2004 with duration of 48 months.
Molecules are an important component of the universe which dominate the cooling and degree of ionization of interstellar gas clouds and, hence, regulate star and planet formation. The exploration of paths towards chemical complexity in space has direct bearing on the origin and evolution of life. Moreover, molecular transitions provide a sensitive probe of the dynamics and the physical and chemical conditions in a wide range of objects at scales ranging from newly forming planetary systems to galactic and extragalactic sizes.
Near-future large scale observatories by the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory - in partnership with American and Far-East organizations - will open up the universe to high spatial and spectral resolution studies of molecules and, hence, the study of the key astrophysicai and astrochemical processes involved in the formation and evolution of planets, stars, and galaxies.

These new missions will lead to a multitude of molecular line data in a variety of astrophysical environments. Identification, analysis and interpretation of this data in terms of the physical and chemical characteristics of the astronomical sources and the origin and evolution of the molecular universe will require a concerted effort by physicists, chemists and astronomers in the areas of molecular spectroscopy, collisional excitation processes, chemical reactions, and astronomical modelling on species of astrophysical relevance.

The specific objectives of this network are:
  • Molecular complexity in space
  • Chemistry in regions of star formation

The results of this expert effort will be made easily accessible to the scientific community through web-based data archives.