Brown dwarfs are stars with insufficient mass to sustain core hydrogen fusion, which continually cool and dim toward planetary-like temperatures. Over the past 20 years, the study of these objects has evolved from discovery-driven science to detailed investigations of the physics of cool atmospheres, compact interiors, and the limits of star formation. In this talk, I will describe three outstanding problems in brown dwarf astrophysics that can be addressed with the next generation of large ground-based and space-based telescopes: the dynamics and manifestations of brown dwarf cloud formation and weather, the use of brown dwarfs as tracer populations in Galactic studies, and the search for habitable exoplanetary systems around these stars. In all three cases, precision infrared spectroscopy and synoptic monitoring will become essential tools.
If anyone wants literature in advance of the talk, I recommend the following:
"Brown dwarfs: failed stars, super jupiters” (short Physics Today review article): http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.2947658
Triaud et al. 2013 "A search for rocky planets transiting brown dwarfs” http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013arXiv1304.7248T
Burgasser et al. 2015: Proceedings of Cool Stars 18 Splinter Session on "Cool Cloudy Atmospheres: Theory and Observations”: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015csss...18....4B