We live in an age where an enormous amount of astrometric, photometric, asteroseismic, and spectroscopic data of Milky Way stars are being acquired, many orders of magnitude larger than about a decade ago. Thanks to the Gaia astrometric mission and followup ground-based spectroscopic surveys in the next 5-10 years about 10-20 Million stars will have accurate 6D kinematics and chemical composition measurements. KEPLER-2, PLATO, and TESS will provide asteroseismic ages for a good fraction of those. In this article we outline some outstanding problems concerning the formation and evolution of the Milky Way and argue that, due to the complexity of physical processes involved in the formation of disk galaxies, numerical simulations in the cosmological context are needed for the interpretation of Milky Way observations. We also discuss in some detail the formation of the Milky Way thick disk, chemodynamical models, and the effects of radial migration.
Wed, 11 Oct 17
Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures, to appear in proceedings of IAU Symposium 330, eds. Recio-Blanco, de Laverny & Brown