Professor Herbst’s major research field lies in the interdisciplinary area of molecular astronomy, which is the study of molecules throughout the universe, especially in regions in between stars known as interstellar clouds. These objects eventually collapse to form new generations of stars and planetary systems, so the molecules found in interstellar clouds are related to the molecules found in planets such as our own. Herbst is specifically interested in the chemical processes by which molecules grow, in using these chemical processes to predict the actual concentrations of molecules, and in the role of molecules in the understanding of their physical environments. His research was featured in Chemical and Engineering News, the popular journal of the American Chemical Society.
|Below are pictures of two astronomical objects where molecules are found
|On the right is a nebula of gas and dust surrounding an old star. It is known as the “red rectangle.”
|Below is an interstellar cloud so dense that no light can pass through it.
The effects of grain size and grain growth on the chemical evolution of cold dense clouds. Acharyya K, Hassel GE, Herbst E. Astrophysical Journal. 732:73 (2011).
Contributions from grain surface and gas phase chemistry to the formation of methyl formate and its structural isomers. Laas JC, Garrod RT, Herbst E, Weaver SLW. Astrophysical Journal. 728:71 (2011).
Herschel observations of EXtra-Ordinary Sources (HEXOS): Methanol as a probe of physical conditions in Orion KL. Wang S et al. Astronomy & Astrophysics. 527:A95 (2011).
Gas-grain modeling of isocyanic acid (HNCO), cyanic acid (HOCN), fulminic acid (HCNO), and isofluminic acid (HONC) in assorted interstellar environments. Quan D, Herbst E, Osamura Y, Roueff E. Astrophysical Journal. 725:2101-2109 (2010).
Reaction Networks for Interstellar Chemical Modelling: Improvements and Challenges. Wakelam V, Smith IWM, Herbst E, Troe J, Geppert W, Linnartz H, Oberg K, Roueff E, Agundez M, Pernot P, Cuppen HM, Loison JC, Talbi D. Space Science Reviews. 156:13 -72 (2010).
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