Credit: Amanda Smith
The exoplanet revolution
Saturday 19 September 2020, 5.00pm to 6.00pm BST
Credit: Amanda Smith
Exoplanets identified over the last 25 years range from large planets like Jupiter to smaller denser objects like the Earth. The diversity and the prolific amount of planets discovered revolutionised our understanding about the nature and the formation history of planets, opening up a surprising new perspective on the possible rarity of planetary systems similar to our own. It has also raised exciting prospects about the potential of probing planet atmosphere for traces of life activity.
This talk will present an outlook of this landscape, discussing the implications of these recent findings. New insights about the origins of life will be presented in the light of recent experiments about a possible origin of pre-biotic chemical building blocks, as well as a possible long-range pathway for detecting Earth-like systems amenable for remote study of life.
A recording of this session is now available to view on YouTube.
Professor Didier Queloz
Didier Queloz is Professor of Physics at the Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory and Professor of Astronomy at Geneva University (part time). He was awarded the Physics Nobel Prize in 2019. He is at the origin of the development of exoplanet science in astrophysics. In 1995, during his PhD with his supervisor, they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star, outside the solar system. This seminal discovery has spawned a revolution in astronomy and kick-started the field of exoplanet research. In the 25 years since this discovery, Professor Queloz’s scientific contributions have seen great progress in detection and measurement capabilities of exoplanet systems, with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure and better understand their formation and evolution by comparison with our solar system.
More recently Professor Queloz has directed his activity to the detection of earth-like planets and universal life. In the course of his career he has developed astronomical equipment, new observational approaches and detection algorithms. He has participated in and conducted programmes leading to the detection of 100 planets, including breakthrough results. He has been featured in numerous documentaries movies, articles, TV and radio interviews to increase excitement and promote interest for science in general, and particularly topics about exoplanets and life in the Universe.
Booking for this event is now closed.