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The Molecular Universe
Tielens, A. G. G. M.
AA(Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, NL-2300RA, Leiden, the Netherlands )
The Molecular Universe, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium, Volume 280, p. 3-18
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(c) 2011: Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2011
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Over the last 20 years, we have discovered that we live in a molecular Universe: A Universe with a rich and varied organic inventory; A Universe where molecules are abundant and widespread; A Universe where molecules play a central role in key processes that dominate the structure and evolution of galaxies; A Universe where molecules provide convenient thermometers and barometers to probe local physical conditions; A Universe where molecules can work together to form such complex species as you and me. Understanding the origin and evolution of interstellar and circumstellar molecules is thus key to understanding the Universe around us and our place in it and has become a fundamental goal of modern astrophysics. This review focuses on the organic inventory and the chemical processes that may play a role in stablishing molecular complexity in regions of planet formation.

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