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Elucidating the Interstellar and Circumstellar Chemistry of Silicon

ACS Fall 2021 National Meeting, Atlanta, GA, 22-26 August

Prof. Ralf I. Kaiser (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Prof. Robert J. McMahon (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Organosilicon molecules such as the cyclic silicon dicarbide (c-SiC2) and bicyclic silicon tricarbide (c-SiC3) are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium (ISM) and in circumstellar envelopes (CSEs) of carbon stars such as of IRC+10216 (CW Leo), but their formation mechanisms have remained largely elusive until now. An investigation of these processes is of fundamental importance in initiating a chain of chemical reactions leading eventually to the formation of organosilicon molecules – among them key precursors to silicon carbide grains – in circumstellar shells contributing critically to the galactic carbon and silicon budgets with up to 80% of the ejected materials infused into the interstellar medium. This symposium will provide a forum to address new findings on the observation (space, laboratory), formation, and (photo) chemical reactivity of silicon-bearing molecules – primarily hydrogen deficient chains and molecules with exotic chemical bonding containing silicon – in interstellar and circumstellar environments in an attempt to eventually constrain the pathways to silicon–carbon bearing molecules in our galaxy.

Session Topics:

  1. Astronomical observations and laboratory spectroscopy of silicon-bearing molecules
  2. Dynamics and kinetics of elementary gas phase reactions leading to silicon-bearing molecules (ion molecule, neutral-neutral) in space
  3. Chemical bonding and electronic structure of exotic silicon-bearing molecules
  4. Physical organic chemistry of organosilicon molecules
  5. Computational astrochemistry & astrochemical modeling of silicon-bearing molecules

Invited speakers include:

  • Mike McCarthy (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA)
  • Jose Cernicharo (Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid, Spain)
  • Alexander G. G. M. Tielens (Leiden Observatory, Netherlands)
  • Sven Thorwirth (University of Cologne, Germany)
  • Alexander Mebel (Florida International University, USA)
  • John F. Stanton (University of Florida, USA)
  • Ian Sims (University of Rennes, France)
  • Tom J. Millar (Queen's University of Belfast, UK)
  • George Tarzay (University of Budapest, Hungary)
  • Josef Michl (University of Colorado, USA)
  • Rebekka Klausen (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
  • David Scheschkewitz (Saarland University, Germany)
  • Lutz Greb (Heidelberg University, Germany)
  • Ethan Deneault (University of Tampa, USA)
  • Stefan Bromley (University of Barcelona, Spain)
  • Nadia Balucani (Perugia University, Italy)