The Challenge of Galaxy Formation

Joe Silk

Department of Physics & Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
University of Oxford

The origin of the galaxies represents an important focus of current cosmological research, both observational and theoretical. Its resolution involves a comprehensive understanding of star formation, galaxy dynamics, supermassive black holes, and the cosmology of the very early universe. It is a field that is largely driven by a phenomenology that depends on our accumulating data taken with the largest available telescopes. I will review our current understanding of galaxy formation and describe some of the challenges that lie ahead. Specific issues that I will address include the star formation rate in galaxies and the galaxy luminosity function, including the role of feedback.