Chapter accepted to appear in Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems, vol 5, ed G. Gilmore, 2011.

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J.A. Sellwood

Rutgers University, Department of Physics & Astronomy,
136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019

Abstract: This chapter reviews theoretical work on the stellar dynamics of galaxy disks. All the known collective global instabilities are identified, and their mechanisms described in terms of local wave mechanics. A detailed discussion of warps and other bending waves is also given. The structure of bars in galaxies, and their effect on galaxy evolution, is now reasonably well understood, but there is still no convincing explanation for their origin and frequency. Spiral patterns have long presented a special challenge, and ideas and recent developments are reviewed. Other topics include scattering of disk stars and the survival of thin disks.

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