Two physicists (a female and male) working on a lab experiment

ALP Seminar: Planetary interiors: a wealth of pressure-induced phenomena

Seminars and colloquia
Simpkins Lee
Beecroft Building

Prof Chrystèle Sanloup (UPMC, Universite Sorbonne)

Seminar series
ALP seminar
Knowledge of physics?
Yes, knowledge of physics required
For more information contact


Planets are natural high-pressure and high-temperature laboratories, with a million-fold pressure increase between the center of the Earth and its surface. Such extreme conditions can profoundly affect the way elements bond within planetary materials. Earth and planetary sciences generate numerous and precise observations such as isotopic ratios of elements that can trace and date planetary processes, but only if their chemistry at planetary conditions is established.

This seminar will address selected examples of pressure-induced phenomena in planetary interiors, how we can probe them, and what they tell us about planetary dynamics and formation. A special emphasis will be given to hydrogen and xenon, two elements almost at the opposite corners of the periodic table albeit both drastically changing behavior at extreme conditions, inducing Jupiter’s magnetic field for the former, and casting light on the very early stages of terrestrial planets formation for the latter.

Beyond understanding the Earth and planets' interiors, elucidating the effect of extreme pressures and temperatures on planetary materials is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for synthesising new materials and high-energy compounds.