Roughness In Our Patch of Sky

Dr. Frank Podosek
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences - Washington University

The space between stars is not entirely empty. There are grains of dust present, produced mostly by stars of earlier generations. The dust varies in composition from grain to grain, but scientists expect that, averaged over large regions, these differences mostly disappear. But what if our own solar system formed from a cloud of dust grains that actually did have substantial variations in composition? Scientists speculate that such differences could indicate how the sun, the Earth, and the planets formed. Dr. Podosek will explain how these microscopic specks of dust provide clues to the formation of our solar system. He will also discuss the search for chemical evidence of the composition of these primitive building blocks of the planets and their satellites.

Dr. Frank Podosek is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and a Fellow of the McDonnell Center For the Space Sciences at Washington University. He is the author of numerous scientific papers, as well as the textbook Noble Gas Geochemistry. His research interests center on the study of the formation and early evolution of the solar system, using the detailed chemical composition of meteorites and interplanetary dust.