We were delighted to announce that after a long pause, we were finally able to resume in-person events for the Caltech Center for Comparative Planetary Evolution (3CPE). Watch here for updates for our next meeting.
Meetings will serve to showcase research from previously funded 3CPE projects, introduce new postdocs who are working in the broad area of comparative planetary evolution, and highlight the work of our first class of 3CPE Graduate Fellows. In addition, we will announce opportunities for the coming year, including a revival of the postdoc retreat, a call for proposals for new research funding, and applications for the next class of 3CPE Graduate Fellows.
An Insider's look at Palomar Observatory
In May 2022, Caltech and Eric Schmidt co-hosted an event at Palomar Observatory where we heard from 3CPE researchers, Laurie Leshin, Eric Schmidt, and President Rosenbaum tackling some of humanity's most profound questions: Where do we come from? Are we alone? And how do we find out? Click below to watch the concluding panel of this event where these leaders discuss the future of planetary evolution, education, and industry today.
3CPE Fall Postdoc Presentations
On December 2, 2022 we featured presentations from some of our 3CPE postdocs:
Dr. Juliette Becker, Small Planets, Small Orbits: Explaining the Orbits of Ultra-Short-Period Planets Through Disk-Planet and Star-Planet Interactions: She discussed the strange and fascinating case of planets that are so close to their stars that they take less than 24 hours to complete an entire orbit around the star. Our current understanding of the formation of planets predicts that nothing should exist there. Dr. Becker described a new mechanism that allows the disk in which planets form to push the planet inward into this ultra-close orbits.
Dr. Fei Dai, A Pristine Resonant Planetary System from Disk Migration: Following on from the previous talk, Dr. Dai showed another expected effect of the interaction of the disk in which the planets formed with the planet itself. He explained how such interactions should lead to multiple planet systems being locked into orbits all with periods related to each other. But most planetary systems (including our own) seem to be close to such a state but not in it. He showed that long-term interactions between planets slowly push planets away from these locked states, and, more interestingly, showed a very young planetary system that is still locked, confirming an important part of his hypothesis.
Dr. Yoshi Miyazaki, A Magma Ocean on Io: Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system and provides a unique laboratory into volcanic processes through the universe. Dr. Miyazaki showed that beneath the crust of Io there is likely an ocean of liquid magma feeding these volcanoes. Such a magma ocean is similar to what is thought to have existed on the early Earth and other planets.
Dr. Josh Goldford, The Evolution of Planetary-Scale Metabolic Networks: Dr. Goldford presented a series of numerical experiments in which he allowed simple chemical processes to interact and determine which metabolic pathways could be built for scratch. He found that at a few key points evolution stalled unless specific molecules were injected into the system, suggesting that some of these were present from external sources. With the addition of these molecules he could build the full set of metabolic networks used by life on Earth and predict a timeline as to how they evolved.
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