" Mass Loss and Disk Formation in Rapidly Rotating Stars " AST- 0097983
A long-standing problem in astronomy is the origin of the circumstellar disks that cause the characteristic Balmer line emission of classical Be stars. The basic task undertaken in this award is to understand the way in which these disks are generated, maintained and dispersed. It is probable that they originate from active regions in or near the surface of the rapidly rotating star and are generated by radial mass ejections augmented with energy supplied by the rotational motion of the star which is locked into the outflowing gas by strong regional magnetic fields. The work requires the consideration of a wide range of physical processes such as radiatively driven mass loss, non-radial pulsation, rapid stellar rotation and the interaction of all of these with magnetic fields. Individually and in various combinations, these processes play a key role in many other astrophysical systems on scales from planets to galaxies. Thus the work done here will have wide applicability to other areas of contemporary astrophysics.