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The Exoplanet Revolution

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Our first talk of the year welcomes Professor Didier Queloz, 2019 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics from our very own Department of Physics. He is at the origin of the development of exoplanet science in astrophysics. In 1995, during his Ph.D. with his supervisor, they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star, outside the solar system. This seminal discovery has spawned a revolution in astronomy and kick-started the field of exoplanet research. In the 25 years since this discovery, Professor Queloz’s scientific contributions have seen great progress in the detection and measurement capabilities of exoplanet systems, with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure and better understand their formation and evolution by comparison with our solar system.

More recently Professor Queloz has directed his activity to the detection of earth-like planets and universal life. In the course of his career, he has developed astronomical equipment, new observational approaches, and detection algorithms. He has participated in and conducted programmes leading to the detection of 100 planets, including breakthrough results. He has been featured in numerous documentaries movies, articles, TV and radio interviews to increase excitement and promote interest in science in general, and particularly topics about exoplanets and life in the Universe.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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