Astro Seminar: "The Chaotic Life Cycles of Planetary Systems"

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:00
Daniel Tamayo (University of Toronto)

The past two decades have seen the discovery of thousands of new planetary systems in our galactic neighborhood, many of which look drastically different from our own. However, despite this remarkable observational achievement, we are still struggling to generate theoretical frameworks capable of explaining their divergent evolutionary paths. In particular, a central challenge is modeling the often chaotic orbital evolution of planetary systems over typical lifetimes of billions of years, which sculpts the distribution of orbital architectures that we observe at the present day. I will present my recent work developing novel numerical solutions to break through this computational barrier, as well as new insights into the physics underlying these nonlinear interactions. With a wide slate of next-generation exoplanet missions launching as early as next week and continuing through the next decade, we face an exciting opportunity to elucidate the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and to ultimately place our own solar system into a broader, cosmic context.

David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A4