Blackboard covered with equations in the Physics & Astronomy Student Lounge

Weekly Colloquium

Most weeks during the semester, we host a scholar for a one-day visit. The visit culminates with a public talk on a topic of contemporary physics or astronomy. Students are welcome to these talks, and seniors are required to attend at least nine over the course of a year. Near the end of each semester, honors thesis students give public lectures on their work.   

Our Astronomy program is part of the Five College Astronomy Department, which hosts its own colloquium series Thursdays at 3:45 pm at UMass. 

  • Contact colloquium organizer Rachael Dunphy with any questions about colloquia, or being added to our mailing list.

Tue, Oct 4, 2022

Tue, Oct 18, 2022

October 18: TBA

Tue, Oct 25, 2022

October 25: "The Effects of Binary Companions on Planet Formation and Evolution," Clemence Fontanive, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Research on Exoplanets, Université de Montréal, Canada

While numerous exoplanets have now been uncovered in stellar binaries, the impact of companion stars on planet formation and evolution is still not understood. In this talk, I will present results of population trends seen among the known sample of planets in multiple star systems, which allows us to investigate the effects of stellar binarity on the resulting planetary architectures. In particular, observations of stars hosting high-mass close-in giant planets and brown dwarfs find an excess of binary companions on few hundred AU separations, suggesting that such systems may provide favorable conditions for the formation of the observed inner companions. I will also show results from simulations of self-gravitating protoplanetary disks adapted to binary star environments, which indicate that certain binary configurations may trigger the formation of giant planets through gravitational fragmentation in otherwise-stable disks.

Tue, Nov 1, 2022

November 1: David Schmidt, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, U Mass Amherst

Tue, Nov 8, 2022

November 8: Joel Zinn, Postdoctoral Fellow, American Museum of Natural History

Tue, Nov 15, 2022

November 15: TBA

Tue, Nov 22, 2022

Thanksgiving Break

Tue, Nov 29, 2022

November 29: Thesis Talks

Tue, Dec 6, 2022

December 6: Thesis Talks

Tue, Jan 31, 2023

January 1: John Lacy, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Williams College