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The mystery of multiple populations in globular clusters

Carmela Lardo

The discovery that stars in globular clusters do not fit within the traditional picture of hosting stars with the same age and chemical composition, has led to a renewed interest in globular cluster studies. Indeed, it has been discovered that these complex systems host stars with variations in many elements like helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sodium (a.k.a. multiple populations). Severals scenarios have been put forward to explain the origin of the observed variations, but none of them is able to entirely reproduce observations. After more than 30 years from the discovery of multiple populations, their origin is still a mystery and it is unlikely that most of the questions on globular clusters formation and evolution will be answered without a new insight.
In this talk I provide an outline of observations of multiple populations and I attempt to highlight topics that are particularly uncertain and which new theoretical and observational studies are likely to lead to important advances.