7 Conclusions

We have presented an overview of some of the achievements and challenges related to fitting the Spectral Energy Distributions of galaxies. SED fitting can be used effectively to derive a range of physical properties of galaxies, such as redshift, stellar masses, star formation rates, dust masses, and metallicities, with care taken not to over-interpret the available data. To allow for more progress in galaxy evolution studies from SED fitting, we suggest two main areas. On the one hand there still exist many specific issues such as estimating the age of the oldest stars in a galaxy, finer details of dust properties and dust-star geometry, and the influences of poorly understood, luminous stellar types and phases. The challenge for the coming years will be to improve both the models and the observational data sets to resolve these uncertainties. On the other hand, the robustness and accuracy of SED-fitting-derived properties still need to be assessed more completely. The challenge here is to develop and understand the interplay between the fitting routines and the available data and models.

In the hope of accompanying these challenges, the present review will be made available on a webpage (sedfitting.org) together with links to relevant models, fitting codes and datasets. We would like to encourage the community to send in suggestions for additions and changes to the text6 through this webpage. The intention is twofold: 1) We hope to bolster the information currently available in this review and keep it up to date over the coming years. 2) Due to our bias to the workshop participants we did mention many important works in passing, or indeed missed them. We therefore hope that particularly those members of the community whom we missed will take to opportunity to add their part of the story, thus expanding the current text beyond its original scope.


The authors of this review and organizers of the workshop would like to thank the Lorentz center for making this workshop possible and for providing a first-class meeting environment. We also thank NOVA for additional support.

We would like to thank the participants in the workshop for their motivation and for sharing their expertise, without which this review could not have been written. The talks and discussions of the attendees formed a large part of this review. Furthermore, we are deeply indebted to the following participants for supplying many pages worth of text: H. Aussel, N. Ball, M. Brodwin, S. Charlot, L. Dunne, I. Ferreras, V. Margoniner, M. Polletta, A. Sajina, J.D.  Smith, P. Oesch, V. Wild, C. Wolf, S. Zibetti. We thank N. Ball, J. Brinchmann, E. da Cunha, S. Charlot, M. Dopita, L. Dunne, I. Ferreras, P. Oesch, and V. Wild for custom making their figures.

We thank an anonymous referee for a critical and thorough reading of the manuscript, which led us to clarify several important points in the text. We also thank L. Spezzi for a careful reading of an early version of the manuscript.

This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services.