The hot rocky exoplanet TRAPPIST-1 c & portrait image of Professor Kreidberg

26th Hintze Lecture: Professor Laura Kreidberg

08 Nov 2023
Public talks and lectures
Martin Wood Lecture Theatre
Martin Wood Complex, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU

Professor Laura Kreidberg, Director of the APEx Department, Max Planck Institute For Astronomy

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Copernicus revisited: is the Earth special?

Professor Laura Kreidberg, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany, will present the 26th Hintze Lecture.


Nearly 500 years ago, Nicolas Copernicus published his disruptive theory that Earth is not the centre of the universe. This 'Copernican demotion' has held fast over the centuries, as astronomers have learned that there is nothing particularly remarkable about Earth or even the Milky Way. In the last two decades however, a new test of the Copernican Principle has emerged: the discovery of an abundance of planets orbiting other stars. These discoveries allow us to put Earth in context and evaluate whether the formation, architecture, and present-day characteristics of our Solar System are in fact typical. One of the biggest open questions is whether Earth-like exoplanets have water, a key ingredient for life. Thanks to the revolutionary new observing capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), it is possible to characterise the atmospheres of Earth-sized worlds for the first time. In this talk, Professor Kreidberg will share the latest observations of rocky exoplanet atmospheres from JWST, discuss the implications for their water abundances in comparison to the Earth, and answer the question: was Copernicus wrong?

The Hintze lectures highlight contemporary developments in astrophysics and cosmology and are generously funded by the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation

This event is free both online and in person. 

Please note that registration is required if you would like to attend online. Registration is not required if you would like to attend in person.