Published: Min Li, Zhaohuan Zhu, Jason Steffen, and Shichun Huang

Min Li (Physics and Astronomy) will have a new study appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society — a major international astronomy journal. She and her collaborators, UNLV's Jason Steffen, Zhaohuan Zhu (both Physics and Astronomy), and Shichun Huang (Geoscience), as well as Misha Petaev at Harvard, combined simulations of a planet-forming disk with software that calculates the chemical compounds that form from an initial array of chemical elements. With this, Li , a postdoctoral scholar, modeled the condensation of dust within a protoplanetary disk in order to predict the composition of terrestrial planets that form from that disk. They were able to show the time and location where certain minerals are expected to form. They also constrained the timescale over which the dust must condense and decouple from the evolving gaseous disk. The group plans to continue the development of this software to model how changes to the disk properties, and how stellar activity, can affect the chemical composition of the planets that form in those environments.

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