Earlier this week Garret Cotter Professor of Physics at Exeter College, Oxford gave an inspiring and informative talk on the formation of stars, commencing with the physical conditions which lead to the collapse of gas clouds and how these conditions change over time as a protostar is formed.

This was then followed by discussion of the continued evolution of the protostar to the formation of a main sequence star and its planetary system, concluding with an explanation of how the main sequence star evolves over time depending on its mass, which ultimately decides how the star dies.

Professor Cotter’s research interests are centered on high-energy astrophysics, particularly in the relativistic jets and very-high-energy particles created in extreme environments such as accreting black holes and supernova blast waves. He is currently developing the next generation ground-based observatory for gamma-ray astronomy, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and perfecting the cameras for some 40 four-meter telescopes for CTA that will be constructed in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile over the next few years.

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