fitting a line, initial mass function

On the plane I wrote in—and at MPIA I discussed (with Chien Peng of Victoria and MPIA)—my document on straight-line fitting, which I hope to finish up in the next week or two. I must finish it now if I am going to get onto the next topic and be ready for the IMPRS Summer School.

With Peng and Eric Bell (MPIA, Michigan) I discussed the possibility that the initial mass function of stars (the frequency distribution for stars of different masses at birth) might vary. It is a bit of an exaggeration to say that Bell believes that such a discovery (variation) would mean the end of galaxy astrophysics, while Peng and I believe that it is almost inevitable that it must vary. Bell noted that it would not be the end of astrophysics if we could measure and model the variations as a function of controlling parameters. That would be good, but it is possible that it depends on things nearly impossible to measure.

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