By Catherine Walsh.
I am currently a University Academic Fellow at the University of Leeds, and based in the Astrophysics Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy .
I study molecules in space across the spectrum of molecular sources: from interstellar clouds, the birth places of stars, through to protoplanetary disks and planetary atmospheres, and even on to circumstellar envelopes around dying stars. Molecules have huge prebiotic significance since they are the elementary building blocks of planetary systems. I am interested in fundamental astrochemical processes, i.e., how molecules are formed and destroyed in different environments, and how they can be used to probe the physical conditions in the diverse range of extreme environments in which they survive. Molecules are a unique and powerful tool in astronomy.
I also make use of high-spatial and high-spectral resolution observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array which is currently revolutionising the field of star and planet formation. I am Co Principal Investigator (Co-PI) of a 100-hour ALMA Large Programme with fellow Co-PIs, Prof Karin Öberg (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA), Dr Viviana Guzman (Joint ALMA Observatory, Chile), Prof Ted Bergin (University of Michigan, USA), and Prof Yuri Aikawa (University of Tokyo, Japan), to investigate the chemistry of planet formation on spatial scales similar to the size of the Solar System. I am also PI of four ALMA programs, two of which concern the investigation of the gas and dust structure of protoplanetary disks around intermediate-mass stars that also show signatures of embedded planets and ongoing planet formation. The second two programs are a deep search for the complex organic ice reservoir in disks around nearby Sun-like stars, to help answer questions regarding the origin of complex molecules in planetary systems.

March 15, 2023 in Parc ornithologique du Teich.

Rencontres Exobiologiques pour Doctorants is an annuel meeting adress to:
• Any student preparing his PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology or History/Philosophy of sciences in France or any other country.
• Any students or young scientist wishing to acquire an interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address issues about the origins of life on Earth, its evolution and its distribution in the Universe.

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