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Physics & Astronomy Colloquium – Spring 2020 – Wang
February 5, 2020 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Songhu Wang (Yale University)
Title: Placing the Solar System into the Big Picture — The Origin of Exoplanets
Abstract: While the fast-growing field of exoplanets is replete with remarkable discoveries, perhaps the two most intriguing findings have been (1) the startling abundance of super-Earths – a type of world entirely missing from our solar system, and (2) the detection of hot Jupiters – giant planets orbiting perilously close to their parent stars. The mere existence of these worlds was wholly unpredicted based on the expectations gleaned from centuries of observation of our own solar system. In this talk, I will highlight the observational and theoretical progress that I have made in studying the multiplicity, the orbital orientations, and the mutual inclinations of exoplanets. I will highlight the myriad opportunities to work with students and colleagues at the University of Alabama to address the critical gaps that remain in our understanding: How did hot Jupiters migrate to their current locations? How does a huge population of super-Earths arise in the inner terrestrial zone of the average star? And how can we fit our Solar System into the big picture?
Speaker Biography: Dr. Songhu Wang is a 51 Pegasi b Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale. His research centers on setting our Solar System into the context of the Galactic exoplanetary census by leveraging a full range of advanced observations, dynamical simulations, and theoretical insight.