The Physics of Star Formation and Early Stellar Evolution
The origin of stars is one of the principle mysteries of nature. During the last two decades advances in technology have enabled more progress to be made in the quest to understand stellar origins than at any other time in history. The study of star formation has developed into one of the most important branches of mod ern astrophysical research. A large body of observational data and a considerable literat ure now exist concerning this topic and a 1arge community of international astronomers and physicists devote their efforts attempting to decipher the secrets of stellar birth. Yet, the young astronomerjphysicist or more advanced researcher desiring to obtain a basic background in this area of research must sift through a very diverse and sometimes bewildering literature. A literature which includes research in many discip1ines and sub discip1ines of classical astrophysics from stel lar structure to the interstellar medium and encompasses the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays. Often, the reward of a suc cessfu1 foray through the current literature is the realization that the results can be obsolete and outdated as soon as the ink is dry in the journal or the conference proceeding in which they are published.