John Swift from the California Institute of Technology will be the featured speaker at a Department of Physics and Astronomy colloquium. His talk is titled, "The Formation and Frequency of Compact Planetary Systems."
His group based at Caltech has undertaken a comprehensive program to understand the planet populations around the smallest and most numerous stars in the Galaxy using unprecedented data from the Kepler telescope. He will share some of our latest results including observational constraints on planet formation mechanisms, and a statistical analysis of planet frequency. He will then address the implications of these findings, and present a new robotic, cost effective observatory under development within our group called Minerva that will discover some of our nearest neighboring exoplanetary systems.