Complex organic molecules in protoplanetary disks
Monday, 13 April 2015, 12:00
Pratt Conference Room, 60 Garden Street
Planets, comets and asteroids form in protoplanetary disks. The disk chemical composition sets the bulk and surface composition of the nascent planets, including the surface access to water and organic molecules. Based on comet observations we know that the Solar Nebula was a reservoir of complex organic material. The same molecules are often abundant around protostars. Whether these molecules generally survive disk formation and are thus a universal ingredient of planet formation has been less certain. Recent ALMA observations show that in at least one instant, key molecules do not just survive, but thrive in the outer regions of such a disk. I will discuss these findings in the context of previous interstellar observations of complex organics, comet abundances, as well as some of the chemistry we think was critical for the origins of life here on Earth.