Kavli Institute For Theoretical Physics
The KITP Public Lecture Series

Starquakes and Exoplanets in the Milky Way

sponsored by Friends of KITP

Asteroseismology – the study of stellar interiors via "starquakes" – has been around for a century, but it is now entering a new and exciting phase. Seismic measurements from thousands of stars allow us to listen in on a cosmic symphony, and also to probe their physics, their life, and, by implication, the fate of the exoplanets that may surround them. The recent revolution in our knowledge of stars and of exoplanetary systems, thanks to the space missions CoRoT and Kepler, will be highlighted. Dr Aerts will end by discussing how ongoing and future seismic studies will reveal the structure of our Milky Way galaxy, find the ages of its stars, and, perhaps soon, aid in the search for analogs of our planet Earth around other stars.

About the Speaker

CONNY AERTS is the Director of the Institute of Astronomy, Leuven University, Belgium and the Chair of Asteroseismology, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She received her Ph.D. from Leuven University in 1993, after bouncing around the international observatories located in the Chilean Atacama desert and the French Alps. Her curiosity about stars began in elementary school. At age 15, she knew she needed more mathematics to be an astronomer and took it upon herself to switch schools and endure 3- hour commutes to get it. Among her many honors, her contributions to asteroseismology were recognized by the King of Belgium when she received the "Belgian Nobel Prize" – the first woman to receive this award in the "hard sciences.".