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Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge


Between 22-26 April 2024, KICC will host a hybrid (online & on-site) meeting focusing on hidden and elusive star formation, from the local Universe to high redshift, and an occasion to remember Richard Hills.

Stars form in sites that mostly escape detection at visible wavelengths, both in the local Universe and in distant galaxies. The exploration of the hidden side of star formation has made tremendous progress in recent years, also thanks to the development of new observing facilities, especially in the radio, (sub-)millimetre and infrared domains. These facilities have also given access to a wealth of diagnostics tracing different physical mechanisms associated with the star formation and several other astrophysical processes, on different galactic scales. This conference will bring together scientists from multiple areas to discuss the recent developments in understanding star formation both in our Galaxy and across the cosmic epochs, with focus on its elusive and obscured components. New insights on the physical conditions and processes that enable and regulate star formation will be discussed extensively. Ample space will be given to the prospects offered by future facilities and upgrades of current observatories.

The conference will also be an occasion to commemorate the fundamental contribution in these areas by the late Richard Hills, about two years after his passing. Richard guided the development of instrumentation and observatories that have shaped our understanding of the cold and dusty Universe over the last 50 years, both through his insightful technical understanding and his broad scientific knowledge of multiple areas of astrophysics. Many of the results presented at this conference would have not been possible without the novel concepts and technologies conceived by him. Always forward looking, he constantly and enthusiastically promoted the development of new facilities and was a fantastic mentor for the new generation of astronomers. The conference will be an opportunity to reflect on his legacy.

Topics that will be specifically discussed at the conference are:


  • Star formation in our Galaxy from the ISM, via prestellar cores

  • Astrochemistry and star formation tracers

  • Star formation in nearby galaxies

  • Primeval galaxies and cosmic evolution 

  • Prospects from future facilities


Each session will have some review and highlight presentations, but ample space will be dedicated to contributed presentations.

 A session will also be dedicated to remember Richard Hills, as a scientist, as a mentor, and as a friend. People who were fortunate enough to know Richard or work with him, will be encouraged to share memories and testimonials during this session, but also throughout the conference.

In-person participation will be limited to 100 people (with a registration fee of 200 GBP), while remote attendance will also be possible (no fee).

  Key dates:

  • - 30 November 2023 - Deadline for abstracts submissions (and/or expression of interest in contributing to the session dedicated to Richard Hills): follow this link for submissions
  • - 31 January 2024 - Deadline for registrations (expression of interest in contributing to the session dedicated to Richard Hills will be possible also at this stage)
  • - 22-26 April 2024 - Conference

For more information, please email

Conference website: