Statistical Cosmochemistry

Meteorites, fragments of the solar system’s first generations of planetesimals and relics of our solar system’s protoplanetary disk, provide the only samples of any stellar system available to study with laboratory methods. While extrasolar protoplanetary and debris disks may be observed remotely, meteorites alone afford the opportunity to study diverse disk materials with high analytical precision.

As a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, I am using statistical and computational methods to interrogate extant meteorite chemical data, working under the mentorship of Prof. C. Brenhin Keller and Prof. Elisabeth Newton.

Project goals include:

  1. Build improved chemical models of planetesimals from the inner and outer regions of the solar system to evaluate the observed compositional differences between the Sun and very similar “solar twins” (e.g. Meléndez+, 2009).
  2. Examine the thermochronologic histories of chondrites with Bayesian statistical models to evaluate the timescales of giant planet migration in the young solar system.