Luca Casagrande (RSAA, Australian National University)
Owing to their long life-times, cool stars can be regarded as fossils from different epochs of the formation and evolution of the Galaxy. To write this narrative, accurate stellar parameters are vital. Here I focus on the importance of photometry to derive stellar parameters, as well as to assess selection functions, and target selection effects in present-day surveys. Cool stars are also characterised by solar like-oscillations, which allow us to determine stellar properties that otherwise we would not have access to. The study of solar-like oscillations is a powerful new tool to investigate stellar populations across the Galaxy, and I review some of the main results obtained in this quest. I present ongoing efforts to define a new set of filters to measure alpha abundances in stars, and I show how they will help us to transform the Milky Way into a well characterised template to underpin the study of other galaxies.