Interdisciplinary Seminar in Nonlinear Science

Title: Winding and Unwinding a Clockwork Universe
Speaker: Eugene Chiang
Speaker Info: University of California-Berkeley
Brief Description:
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The motions of celestial bodies observe a form and proportion reminiscent of well-tuned clocks. Among the principal mechanical phenomena are "mean motion resonances." These occur when the orbital period of a body divided by the orbital period of another body takes the ratio of small positive integers. Gravitational interactions between resonant bodies are particularly dramatic. The dynamics within mean motion resonances will be discussed in two contexts: (1) the Kuiper Belt of bodies orbiting in the outer Solar System, of which Pluto is the largest known member, and (2) extrasolar planets, whose orbits are incredibly elongated compared to those in our Solar System. These two types of systems may illustrate, respectively, the winding and unwinding of our clockwork universe.
Date: Friday, May 31, 2002
Time: 2:00PM
Where: Tech M416
Contact Person: Fred Rasio
Contact email: rasio@northwestern.edu
Contact Phone: 847-467-3419
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