Dr John Ilee is an astrophysicist at the University of Leeds where he studies star and planet formation. He has previously held research positions at the University of St Andrews and the University of Cambridge. He uses telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) to observe dust grains and molecular gas, which when combined with advanced computer simulations, enables him uncover the physical & chemical conditions of young stars and their planet-forming discs.
Talk: Solving the puzzle of planet formation with the Square Kilometre Array
In the past 30 years, the population of known planets orbiting other stars has risen from 0 to over 4000. Despite having such a large number of objects to study, we are still unsure of how these planetary systems came to be. I will discuss the latest research designed to understand the birthplaces of planets – protoplanetary discs. Advanced new telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will transform our view of these discs, providing images of planetary assembly in unprecedented detail. With these observations, I will show how we will finally be close to answering a fundamental question – how are planets formed?