Sarah Ballard (UW) came in for the day to give an outstanding talk about habitability and exoplanets. Her talk was a beautiful balance between the general (exoplanet populations and host stars; you can't characterize a planet if you can't characterize its star; M dwarfs have lots of planets but bad spectral models; etc) and the specific (how Kepler 61b went from being habitable and Earth-like to not either). She pointed us to some great literature on the statistics of planets and false positives. Among the many tidbits from the talk: She repeatedly called exoplanet researchers exoplaneteers. She predicted that there would be a rocky, habitable-zone planet discovered in 2013. She made the point that directly measured stellar diameters (from optical interferometry) have revolutionized the field. I can't help mentioning also that the talk was hilarious and interactive, with many audience members participating, just like a seminar (in my mind) should be. I love my job!

No comments:

Post a Comment