Extreme Exoplanet Systems | Jason Steffen | TEDxUNLV

There are many kinds of planets and planetary systems that we knew nothing about just 20 years ago. Many of these planets and systems have gone through significant disruption events, have exotic dynamical histories, strange orbits. Others have been ejected completely from their systems and are wandering alone among the stars. Jason Steffen discusses our solar system and earth in the context of these extrasolar counterparts and looks at the fates we have thus far avoided. As assistant professor of physics at UNLV Dr. Jason Steffen studies the characteristics of planets that are orbiting distant stars. He has served as a member of NASA’s Kepler mission for nearly ten years and co-chairs the working group that investigates the dynamical properties of these extrasolar systems. Steffen and his collaborators have discovered nearly 1000 planets orbiting distant stars and identified several thousand new planet candidates. Prior to this, Steffen was a Lindheimer Fellow at Northwestern University and a Brinson Fellow in particle astrophysics at Fermilab where, in addition to work in exoplanets, he studied dark matter and dark energy. Steffen has authored, or co-authored over 60 papers which have been cited over 8000 times in the scholarly literature. Steffen’s most famous papers, quite unrelated to either exoplanets or dark matter, are on the optimum method to board passengers onto airplanes (the currently undefeated "Steffen Method"). This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx