Waves Inside Stars: The Beauty and Power of Asteroseismology

  • Speaker
  • Conny Aerts, Ph.D.Professor of Astrophysics, Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven
    Professor of Asteroseismology, Department of Astrophysics, Radboud University
    External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

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5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Lecture and Q&A

This lecture is part of “Waves,” the 2023 lecture series theme in mathematics and computer science. The equations that describe waves are crucial tools for understanding everything from how sound propagates to the behavior of quantum particles. This set of talks will explore the richness of the wave equation and its non-linear extensions in general relativity, particle physics, hydrodynamics, optics, quantum mechanics and electrodynamics.
2023 Lecture Series Themes
Biology: Microbiomes
Neuroscience and Autism Science: The Neuroscience of Sleep
Physics: The Third Quantum Revolution
Mathematics and Computer Science: Waves

About Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

Space asteroseismology — the study of waves inside stars using space-based telescopes — saw its birth less than two decades ago, yet it has already revolutionized our understanding of stellar evolution.

In this talk, Conny Aerts will overview the field’s evolution from asteroseismic studies based on ground-based data to the current space and computational era. She will then highlight the importance of long-term, uninterrupted data to model the rotation properties of large samples of stars with a diversity of masses and evolutionary stages. Aerts will then explain how the various forces acting upon the stellar gas create waves of different natures and probing powers covering a wide range of frequencies. She will end with some mathematical and computational challenges to lift asteroseismology to higher dimensions as a path forward to understanding the fastest-rotating celestial bodies in the universe.

About the Speaker

Aerts is a Belgian asteroseismologist specialized in measuring the internal rotation of stars more massive or more evolved than the sun. Her team developed mathematical and computational modeling techniques to infer stellar rotation from slow waves detected in high-precision photometry assembled by ground and space telescopes such as CoRoT, Kepler and TESS. She laid the foundations of gravito-inertial asteroseismology and was awarded several prestigious scientific prizes, including the 2022 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics.

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