(Reverse) Engineering The Milky Way
I will lead a discussion on a problem I am pursuing, of how to use detailed element abundances of stars, which are largely immutable birth properties of stars, to map the formation history of the Milky Way. These abundances have now been measured for hundreds of thousands of stars across the Galactic disk. The methodology that rigorously exploits this information in a Galaxy formation context does not yet exist. The open issues in Galactic evolution and this unprecedented wealth of information make this an exciting and timely problem to work on, with the opportunity to couple these large and precise data sets to new approaches, methods and perspectives. I will provide a data set that will enable anyone to work directly on this problem and which I hope will help inform how to make the critical link to predictions of simulations and theory.