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Type of talk
Dr. Kaustubh Hakim
Royal Observatory of Belgium
Date and Time of Talk

Exoplanet science is a new, exponentially growing field of astronomy challenging the theoretical understanding of planets. Planet occurrence studies focusing on the size distribution of planets have revealed three major classes of exoplanets, gas giants, gas dwarfs (sub-Neptunes), rocky exoplanets (super-Earths and smaller planets). Unlike gas giants, super-Earths and sub-Neptunes are dominated by their rocky interiors. This decade is witnessing a major shift from the atmospheric characterisation of gas giant exoplanets to their smaller counterparts. In the absence of direct measurements of deep interiors, the following three astronomical windows reveal rocky interiors. Mass-radius measurements inform about bulk planet composition, atmospheric characterisation reveals atmospheric composition, and host-star refractory elemental abundances give potential estimates of interior composition. While the observations of atmospheres of sub-Neptunes and rocky exoplanets keep growing, the understanding of chemical diversity in planetary interiors and interior-atmosphere interactions is more vital than ever. In this overview talk, I will focus on rocky exoplanet interiors and evolution from the perspective of chemical and physical diversity. The inventory of refractory elements largely determines the interior composition, mineralogy and structure. The inventory of volatile elements further influences the interior evolution and atmospheric chemistry. I will discuss the role of exoplanet interiors in the composition of atmospheres, including processes such as geochemical cycling and outgassing. Going forward, we will need to develop a thorough understanding of planetary mineralogy, material properties and processes that occur outside the physical and chemical realms of Earth and planetary bodies in the Solar System with the help of theoretical models and laboratory experiments.

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About Speaker

Dr. Kaustubh Hakim is a Senior Scientist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium and a KU Leuven Research Expert (staff member). Between 2019 and 2023, he was an ERC Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2018. He has given several invited and contributed talks and is engaged in various astronomical communities. His main research interests are Exoplanet Geochemical Cycling, Interior Structure, Mineralogy & Evolution. 

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Dr. Santosh Joshi
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