Colloquia Schedule Spring 2015

Colloquia are on Tuesdays (unless otherwise indicated) at 3:30 pm in RLM 15.216B

Jan. 20

Tinsley Visiting Scholar: Planetary Group

"Habitability of Planets Orbiting M Dwarfs"


Rory Barnes

University of Washington

host: Mike Endl

Jan. 27

"The Elusive and Ionized Gas Surrounding the Magellanic System"


Kathleen Barger

Texas Christian University

host: Cyndi Froning

Feb. 3

"Probing the Nature of Accretion and Planet Formation in Protoplanetary Disks: Connecting Theory with ALMA Observations"

Protoplanetary disks play a key role in star and planet formation processes. Turbulence in these disks, which arises from the magnetorotational instability (MRI), not only causes accretion of mass onto the central star, but also sets the conditions for processes such as dust settling, planetesimal formation, and planet migration. However, the exact nature of this turbulence is still not very well constrained in these systems.

In this talk, I will first present recent numerical simulations of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in protoplanetary disks that point to the importance of large scale, vertical magnetic fields in driving disk accretion through both turbulent processes and magnetic winds. I will then describe new work, utilizing both state-of-the-art numerical simulations and powerful new radio observations, to directly link numerical predictions for the turbulent velocity structure of protoplanetary disks to observations by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). ALMA's unprecedented resolution and sensitivity will allow us to generate a three-dimensional map of disk turbulence by measuring the turbulent broadening component of molecular lines at different disk heights (i.e., optical depths) and radii. A direct comparison between the observed turbulence values and those obtained from simulations will strongly constrain our theoretical understanding of these disks. I will conclude with an outlook for protoplanetary disk studies, and in particular how our current results may influence studies of planet formation processes and the construction of exoplanetary systems.


Jacob B. Simon

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)

host: Neal Evans

Feb. 10

"The Large Reservoirs of Gas Around Galaxies"


Jessica Werk

UCO/Lick Observatory

host: Volker Bromm

Feb. 12

Special Colloquium: "Insights into Galaxy Formation from z=15 to the Present Day"


Peter Behroozi

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

host: John Kormendy

Feb. 17

"Towards a Complete Theory of Lyman-Alpha Transfer in and around Galaxies"


Mark Dijkstra

University of Oslo: Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics

host: Steve Finkelstein

Feb. 19

Special Colloquium: "Three Problems in Trying to Form Galaxies (and how ISM Physics can Save Us)"


Desika Narayanan

Haverford College

host: Chris Sneden

Feb. 24

"The Local Universe as a Cosmology Laboratory"


Michael Boylan-Kolchin

University of Maryland

host: Volker Bromm

Feb. 26

Special Colloquium: "New Tools for Galactic Archaeology from the Milky Way"


Gail Zasowski

Johns Hopkins University

host: Adam Kraus

Mar. 3

"Massive Galaxy Growth since Cosmic Noon"


Stijn Wuyts

Max Planck Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik

host: Chris Sneden

Mar. 10

Tinsley Visiting Professor

"David vs. Goliath: Exploiting the Black Hole Mass Scale to Better Constrain Accretion Physics"


Sera Markoff

University of Amsterdam

host: Pawan Kumar

Mar. 17

Spring Break: March 16 - 20: no Colloquium being held this week.

Mar. 24

"MOSFIRE, the Multi-Object Spectrometer for Infrared Exploration at Keck Observatory"


Ian McLean

University of California, Los Angeles

host: Gregory Mace

Mar. 31

Tinsley Visiting Scholar: Stars Group

"SPHERE, the New High-contrast Imager for the ESO-VLT"


Raffaele Gratton

INAF - Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy

host: Chris Sneden

Apr. 7

"Title: TBA"


Speaker: TBD

Affiliation: TBD

host: TBA

Apr. 14

"Title: TBA"


Adam Leroy

Ohio State University

host: Neal Evans

Apr. 21

"Title: TBA"


Catherine Espaillat

Boston University

host: Adam Kraus

Apr. 28

Tinsley Visiting Scholar: Extragalactic Group

"Title: TBA"


Stijn Wuyts

Max Planck Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik

host: Shardha Jogee

May. 5

"Title: TBA"


Speaker: TBA

Affiliation: TBD

host: TBD

Visitors to the Department of Astronomy can find detailed information and maps on our Visiting Austin Page.

Please report omissions/corrections to: G. Orris at


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