Who verily knows and who can here declare it,
whence it was born and
whence comes this creation?
The gods are later than this world’s production.
Who knows then
whence it first came into being?
He, the first origin of this creation, whether he
formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven,
he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.
Rig Veda (~1500 – 1200 B.C.)1
Thus is the excellence of God magnified
and the greatness of his kingdom made manifest;
He is glorified not in one, but in countless suns;
Not in a single earth, a single world,
but in a thousand thousand,
I say in an infinity of worlds!
Giordano Bruno (16th century A.D.)2
I work on the formation, evolution and intrinsic properties of low mass stars, brown dwarfs and planets. In particular, some of the questions I find most interesting are:
Do brown dwarfs and very low mass stars form the same way as stars such as the Sun (e.g., via 'turbulent fragmentation'), or are they forged in a separate process (e.g., 'ejection')? Are the accretion, outflow and disk processes analogous for stars and brown dwarfs of all masses, or are there fundamental differences in the underlying physics as the stellar mass changes? And finally, how is the formation and properties of planets affected by the accretion/outflow/disk physics around stars and brown dwarfs?