Scientific Rationale

The formation of terrestrial planets and the rocky cores of gas giant planets is one of the key questions in astrophysics. The first step in this process is the coagulation of dust: the growth from sub-micron dust particles to ever larger aggregates ultimately leading to the formation of multi-kilometer sized `planetesimals'. Once these planetesimals are formed, gravitational interaction starts to dominate over all other forces, and eventually leads to the formation of rocky planets. The workshop focuses on the first stage (the growth of dust to planetesimals). This stage still suffers from a large number of unsolved mysteries, some of which are critical to our understanding of the planetesimal formation process. Among them are the seemingly unsurmountable `meter-size barrier' for the growth of particles, the poorly understood causes of the complex mineralogical structure of meteorites, and the apparent lack of correlation between certain observational signatures of grain evolution and the age of the parent star. In spite of the clear connection between these issues, they have mostly been studied by somewhat separated communities. In particular the meteoritics/astrochemistry/astromineralogy community, the collision experimentalists, the theoretical astrophysicists and the observational astronomers have had relatively little cross-field collaboration. The only way to solve the many questions surrounding the growth from dust to planetesimals is to unite these various communities and initiate common research efforts. This is the purpose of this workshop.

The workshop has the goal of bringing worldwide leading researchers from all sides in a common discussion. It also aims at providing young researchers and PhD students on all sides - which are, after all, the researchers of tomorrow - to gain a new and fresh perspective on their fields by discussing various topics with researchers from the other sides. We plan to have a good mixture between German scientists and international scientists.

Immediate goal of the workshop:

It is the intention of the organizers to invite researchers from various sub-fields of solar-system-science and astronomy to the workshop. These fields include solar-system mineralogy, laboratory collision experimentation, observational astronomy and theoretical research on solid state chemistry, dust coagulation, dust drift and dust trapping.

The main objective of the workshop is to stimulate discussion among participants as much and as widely as possible and to initiate new collaborations between the various sub-fields of this research. For this reason we plan to limit the number of participants to 50. There will be plenty of time for discussion, both plenary and during long breaks. Also, since this workshop brings together people working on various distinctly different aspects the formation of planetesimals, we wish to reserve ample time for introductory talks to each of these aspects, given by an internationally recognized expert in the field. A large fraction of the remainder of the time is reserved for talks by young scientists in the field.

Information for participants

The latest information will always be emailed to the participants, but it will also be posted here.

Participant list and presentation titles

Click here for a full list of participants and their planned talks/posters/reviews.

Program of oral presentations

Click here for the full program of oral presentations.

About the location:

Ringberg Castle Photos
Ringberg Castle Web Site

For more information, please contact In urgent cases one can also send an email to or klahr@mpia.