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Wednesday, April 20, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium

Astronomy Colloquium

Planets, Patterns, and the Origin of Life
Lauren Weiss, Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Notre Dame,

Exoplanet science is an explosive new field catalyzed by the discovery of over 5000 extrasolar planets via the NASA Kepler and TESS missions.  With precise transit photometry and high resolution spectroscopy (including radial velocities), we are learning about diverse types of planets, their interior and atmospheric compositions, their orbital properties, the systems in which they reside, and how the planets form and change over time.  In this talk, I will discuss unanticipated patterns that emerge nearly ubiquitously in hundreds of exoplanet systems.  These patterns have reshaped our understanding of planet formation, with implications for the origins of Earth-like planets and life.  Continued characterization of these patterns with the Keck Planet Finder and the ESA PLATO mission will reveal what kinds of planetary systems are common, perhaps at last establishing whether the solar system itself is common or rare.

To view this talk via YouTube, please visit:

For more information, please contact Jim Fuller by email at or visit