Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
The NASA Kepler mission vastly increased the number of planets around other stars that we know about. In this lecture, David W. Hogg will explore how planets are discovered in the Kepler dataset, how the data are understood and how researchers can make inferences about the full population of planets in the galaxy. Key questions in this area revolve around the formation of planetary systems, along with the typicality of the Earth and our solar system. Because extra-solar planets imprint such tiny signals — measured in parts per million — on the carrier signals from their host stars, research projects require extremely high levels of precision. Hogg and his team use concepts from data science to obtain calibrations and measurements at the required levels.