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Remote Summer Research Opportunity: Astrochemistry and planet formation

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Academic Level:
For most summer research programs, this is your upcoming status as of the fall. Always check with the individual program's website for details.

Undergraduates - Sophomore
Undergraduates - Junior
Undergraduates - Senior

Star and planet forming regions present a rich chemistry, which regulates which kind of planets are formed where, including the likelihood delivering prebiotic material to rocky planets. Molecules can also be used to trace the star and planet formation process through observations of molecular lines that are sensitive to e.g. the details of the radiation fields, temperature and density profiles. In the Oberg astrochemistry group we combine theory, laboratory experiments and radio observations of protostars and planet-forming disks to characterize this often exotic chemistry that results in the formation of molecular probes and prebiotic molecules. This summer, undergraduate projects will be carried out remotely and focus on either astrochemical modeling or the interpretation of radio astrochemical spectra. One possible project is described below, but we are also happy to develop a project together with the applicant that fit your interests.

Specific project: Planets form in disks around young stars. The planet's initial solid and atmospheric composition depends on where the planet forms with respect to snowlines, where major disk volatiles, such as water and CO, changes phase from vapor to ice. The locations of these snowlines are largely unknown, however, especially in disks around stars that are lower or higher mass than the Sun. In this project we will derive analytical equations for major snowline locations around stars of different masses.These analytical expressions will be tested against simulations of disks, as well as against recent observational constraints on the locations of CO and N2 snowlines in small samples of disks. The project will be carried out using python notebooks, but no previous python coding experience is required.

The funding for the summer program is a single stipend payment of $6,500.

To apply, please send CV that includes coursework in math, physics, astronomy and chemistry, as well as any prior experience in programming and/or research and a brief (half-page) cover letter that outlines your interest in the position to
accepts non-us citizens

Participating Institution(s):
(Click an institution to see all programs it hosts)
Harvard University (Lead)

Program Materials:
 • Program Website 

This Program can be Described by:
Academic Disciplines:
Astronomy & Astrophysics


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This program is funded by:
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Page last updated 3/9/2022
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