Watch: Prof. David J. Stevenson: Formation and Evolution of the Jupiter System | On Things to Come

On 29 December 2021, Prof. David J. Stevenson gave an online seminar on Formation and Evolution of the Jupiter System. The lecture was organized in the context of the ISSI-BJ "On Things to Come" series that addresses ongoing as well as future space missions by inviting renowned scientists from different countries, institutes, and space agencies. 


Watch it on Bilibili

Jupiter is the most massive planet in our solar system, likely formed first, probably influenced the formation of all planets, and likely dictated the delivery of water to Earth. Even if our solar system is not typical of the many other planetary systems found thus far, we need to understand how Jupiter formed and evolved in order to understand what happened, including embryo formation, possible gravitational instabilities, satellite and disk formation, magnetic field origin, luminosity and atmospheric composition. 

The problem has three aspects: The formation process, the subsequent evolution and the system as we see it now. Not surprisingly, the first of these is the least well known, the second is partly known and the third is best known. That is why the current state of the Jupiter system is important even though it is furthest removed from origin. Juno, a spacecraft in orbit about Jupiter, tells us much about Jupiter now, including clues to the formation and evolution. 

I will talk about Juno’s discoveries, especially the “dilute” core, the magnetic field and the nature of the atmosphere. I will describe why some aspects of the post-formation evolution are imperfectly understood(because we do not fully understand convection) and why many aspects of the formation are still speculative (despite an explosion of data about exoplanet formation). I will finally offer some thoughts on the satellite system and whether this adds an important clue to origin.

About Prof. David J. Stevenson

David Stevenson is the Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Planetary Science, Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology and is a recent Andrew D. White Professor at large at Cornell University. A native of New Zealand, his early work was in the condensed matter physics of planetary interiors, especially giant planets, but his wide ranging career has included contributions to the interpretation of planetary magnetic fields, the formation of planetary cores, melt migration, the origin of the Moon and numerous aspects of planetary and satellite formation, evolution and structure.He was involved in the Cassini mission and is a Co-Investigator and group leader in the Juno mission, currently in orbit at Jupiter. He is actively participating in the interpretation of results from the Juno mission. His PhD was in theoretical physics at Cornell. Awards include Fellowship in the Royal Society (London), membership of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the Urey Prize (American Astronomical Society) and Hess Medal (American Geophysical Union).

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