Mini-Symposium: Laboratory Astrophysics, Invited Lecture

Big Game Hunting: Tools and Techniques for Identifying Large Molecules in Space

B. A. McGuire1,2
1Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA USA, 2National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA USA

The last few years have seen an explosion in discoveries of new carbon molecules at centimeter wavelengths, particularly using observations from the Green Bank Telescope and the Yebes 40-m telescope.  These have included numerous long-sought precursor species, ringed species, and the first detections if individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons since their attribution as the carriers of the unidentified infrared emission bands in the mid 1980s.  In this talk, I will highlight just what makes the centimeter-wavelength regime so good for detecting large cold carbon molecules, highlight a number of the recent remarkable discoveries in this area, and discuss the implications and paths forward.