three talks

Three great talks happened today. Two by Jason Kalirai (STScI) on WFIRST and the connection between white dwarf stars and their progenitors. One by Foreman-Mackey on the new paper on M-dwarf planetary system abundances by Ballard & Johnson. Kalirai did a good job of justifying the science case for WFIRST; it will do a huge survey at good angular resolution and great depth. He distinguished it nicely from Euclid. It also has a Guest Observer program. On the white-dwarf stuff he showed some mind-blowing color-magnitude diagrams; it is incredible how well calibrated HST is and how well Kalirai and his team can do crowded-field photometry, both at the bright end and at the faint end. Foreman-Mackey's journal-club talk convinced us that there is a huge amount to do in exoplanetary system population inference going forward; papers like Ballard & Johnson only barely scratch the surface of what we might be doing.

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