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Symposium 241

Abstract details

The future of stellar population studies

Stellar populations provide some of the most important insights into the processes involved in galaxy formation and evolution. If we are to seriously test the prevailing view of hierarchical formation in a LCDM universe, then we will need more powerful techniques in order to reach to fainter light levels and greater cosmic distances. But where are these techniques going to come from? In the near term, new instrument concepts will provide deeper broadband imaging and spectroscopy at near infrared wavelengths. These concepts will suppress sources of background radiation, provide diffraction-limited sampling and a vastly increased multiplex advantage. In the longer term, a combination of extremely large telescopes on dark sites and space-borne observatories will extend our reach even further. But will this technological revolution be enough to advance our understanding to the point where we declare victory in our quest to understand galaxy evolution? This is a fundamental question to be addressed in this review.

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