NSM Lecture Series - Astochemistry

Monday, September 11    3:00 PM-4:00 PM Hamblin Hall 107
Dr. Michael Fultz (304-766-3106)


Dr. Robin Garrod - University of Virginia


Chemical kinetics in interstellar space.
The interstellar medium (ISM) is replete with molecules, and star-formation regions in particular are host to some of the most complex organic molecules yet detected outside of our solar system. New millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelength spectral data from the ALMA telescope allow us to explore the chemistry of such regions in much greater detail than ever before. Our recent detection of the first branched carbon-chain molecule in the ISM (Science, 345, 1584) reveals a new layer of complexity to interstellar chemistry, and indicates that branched carbon structures may be ubiquitous during the star-formation process.
Crucial to our understanding of this rich chemistry is the development of chemical kinetics models that can explain the formation of both simple and complex molecules, over periods of millions of years. I will present new simulations that trace the interplay between chemistry in the gas phase and on the surfaces of interstellar dust grains. I will also show how Monte Carlo kinetics treatments can be used to simulate the three-dimensional structure of interstellar dust-grain ice mantles, allowing us to explore how the physical structure of interstellar ices influences the chemical evolution of our universe.
Dr. Garrod works in the field of astrochemistry and is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Chemistry at the University of Virginia. He gained his physics degree at University Colloege London (UK), and continued at UCL to take a PhD in Astronomy in 2005, working with David A. Williams and Jonathan Rawlings. He was a postdoc with Eric Herbst at the Ohio State University, then worked at the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy (Bonn, Germany) as a Research Fellow sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He was Senior Research Associate at the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell University before moving to Virginia.
Dr. Garrod's research uses computational methods to simulate chemical kinetics and molecular spectral emission in astrophysical regimes. He is work focusses on the formation and survival of complex organic molecules during star and planet formation, and on the influence of dust-grain surface processes and ice photolysis on interstellar and solar-system chemistry.


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