19th October – School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – School of Cosmic Physics Statutory Public Lecture 2017
Thursday 19th October at 6:30pm
Brave new worlds: the planets in our galaxy
By Professor Giovanna Tinetti, University College London
Location : Theatre C (O’Connor Theatre – Room H2.22), Science Hub, University College Dublin
Abstract: The Earth is special to us – it’s our home. But is it really special as a planet? Every star we can see in the night sky is likely to be orbited by planets. There are probably a thousand billion planets in our galaxy alone. In about twenty years, over 3500 “exoplanets” have been discovered in distant solar systems. There are planets completing a revolution around their mother star in less than one day, as well as planets orbiting two or even three stars or moving on trajectories so eccentric as to resemble comets. Some of them are freezing cold, some are so hot that their surface is molten. But beyond that our knowledge falters: What are they made of? How did they form? What’s the weather like there? Are they habitable? Finding out why are these new worlds as they are and what is the Earth’s place in our galaxy and –ultimately– in the universe, is one of the key challenges of modern astrophysics.
About Professor Tinetti: Giovanna Tinetti is Professor of Astrophysics at University College London where she coordinates a research team on extrasolar planets. Select appointments and achievements include Principal Investigator of the European Research Council-funded program “Exo-Lights”, co-editor of planetary journal ICARUS and Institute of Physics Moseley medal 2011 for pioneering the use of IR transmission spectroscopy for molecular detection in exoplanet atmospheres. She is the Principal Investigator of ARIEL, one of the three candidates for the European Space Agency’s next medium-class (M4) science mission; co-founder and co-director of Blue Skies Space Ltd, which aims at creating new opportunities for science space satellites. Awarded a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Turin in Italy, Giovanna has continued her academic career as NASA Astrobiology Institute/NRC fellow at Caltech/JPL and then as European Space Agency external fellow in Paris, before moving to London in 2007 as Royal Society URF.