Weightlessness—the best diet in the world? (or how (not) to build planets)
Molecular clouds are cold, dark inhospitable places, which act as both the stellar nurseries and molecular cauldrons of our local galaxy. The key nano-factories of this molecular world are ice-covered silicate grains. Through experiments, parabolic flights, IR observations and theory we are starting to understand some of the chemical and physical processes governing the evolution of this molecular soup, and the key role dust grains and chemicals play in the star and planet formation process. Yet a huge bottle neck still exists in our understanding of the Physics and physical processes of planet building in the 1 mm ‒ 1 m particle-size regime. Using a unique instrument, designed specifically for the task, we have studied collisions of ices, dust aggregates and ice grains in zero-g conditions. Come along to find out how to lose weight in milliseconds—or at least how (not) to build planets from the building blocks available in interstellar space.
Our General Interest Seminars are an opportunity for distinguished speakers to present new research in physics and related areas. The material presented is suitable for undergraduate level upwards and all members of the School are welcome to attend..