Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 November 2010
Star formation in general and violent star formation in particular as observed in dwarf irregular galaxies are discussed. Emphasis is placed on those qualities of dwarf irregular galaxies that may be regarded as controversial. In particular, the conditions leading to star formation and the effects of star formation on the chemical and dynamical evolution of a dwarf irregular galaxy are discussed.
The title of this talk reflects a relatively broad reach, and I have no aspirations of achieving an all-encompassing review. To find such material, I recommend the reviews of Elmegreen (1992), Franco (1992), Hunter (1992), Kennicutt (1992), and Melnick (1992) in the proceedings of the Third Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics on Star Formation in Stellar Systems. Altogether, I believe that these lectures will provide an excellent background from which to discuss the problem of star formation in dwarf galaxies.
Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of what I consider to be the points of contention one might encounter in the more lengthy reviews. To get right to the point, my discussion will take the form of a presentation of my prejudices. In preparing this talk, I was able to assemble my prejudices and review the observations and theories that led to their development. To admit that these are prejudices, I think, allows them to be openly confronted by both myself and others.