Abstract: The Milky Way is both our home as well as the best place to try and study galaxy evolution "up close and personal" across all of its various components. While we can directly observe what other galaxies look like, however, our current position embedded within the disk of the Milky Way makes this uniquely challenging. In this talk, I will describe some of the history and challenges behind efforts to map out our own Galaxy, how modern surveys such as Gaia have opened new pathways to tackle these problems using data from over a billion stars, and how a combination of statistics, machine learning, and computing are helping to make all this possible. I will also highlight ongoing work in local star formation, stellar parameter estimation, and 3-D dust mapping where these interdisciplinary approaches are already proving to be extremely promising.
Astro Colloquium and 'coffee & cookies' Department gathering (3:45-4:00pm)
Please click the link to join: https://psu.zoom.us/j/92637070419