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The Chemistry of Planet Formation

In the cold and dense stages of star and planet formation, volatile molecules condense out on interstellar grains forming icy mantles. The physics and chemistry of these ices may have a direct impact on planet formation efficiencies and planet bulk compositions. Ice chemistry is also expected to be the main formation site of complex organics in space and may thus regulate the prebiotic potential of nascent planets. We have used a combination of IR and millimeter observations, theory, and laboratory experiments to characterize interstellar ices, snow line locations (i.e. where these ices are located), and the chemical and planet formation consequences of the exact locations of different snow lines. I will discuss how the outcome of these studies have impacted our understanding of ice processes and of organic chemistry during star and planet formation, and also future prospects as complete ALMA and the next generation of laboratory experiments come online.

Cody Hall

Karin Oberg (Harvard)

May 23, 2014
14:00 - 15:00