Formation and Diversity of Planetary Systems

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
November 08, 2021 (10AM), Belmont Media Center (zoom), Belmont MA

Joan Najita, Ph.D., Astronomer and Head of Scientific Staff for User Support at NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab). She is an elected member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a 2021–2022 Daniels Fellow at Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Dr. Najita’s research focus is the formation of planets and planetary systems, and in this presentation she explains the conditions and ingredients that produce planetary systems, on the one hand, and also the surprising diversity of these systems. In addition to her scientific interests, Dr. Najita is involved in the development of advanced research tools for astronomy. She is a strong advocate for science communication.

The sophistication of modern telescopes and advances in data collection combine to make planetary systems one of the most exciting areas of astronomy. Dr. Najita explains how astronomers today investigate the formation and structure of planetary systems, and especially the great diversity of these systems. She also describes the role of citizen science in this ongoing discovery,