Super Earths Post-Kepler: Towards Probabilistic Planetary Physics
Angie Wolfgang - Penn State University
The number of detected small extrasolar planets has exploded in the last decade, increasing a hundred-fold thanks in no small part to Kepler. With TESS, CHEOPS, PLATO, WFIRST, and many next-generation radial velocity instruments to come, our understanding of planets smaller than Neptune will continue to be driven by observations. As theorists construct origin stories for the enormous diversity of exoplanet properties and system architectures revealed by these missions, they need population demographers such as myself to provide them with a coherent picture of the Galactic exoplanet census through quantitative and careful syntheses of many individual measurements enabled by different detection methods. I will present some of my work towards this goal, detailing in particular the latest developments in the super-Earth mass-radius distribution and the corresponding diversity of bulk planet compositions. Through these efforts, I have started developing a framework which will enable us to make self-consistent, integrated probabilistic statements about population-level planetary physics.
Coffee and Donuts will be served at 2:00pm in McPherson Laboratory Room 4054.