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Ravit Helled

ABOUT ME

Photo of Me

My main research interests are: planet formation, planetary interiors, planetary evolution, physics of solar systems, and exoplanets. Some of the key questions my research addresses are:

  • How do planets form?
  • How can we link planet formation with planet evolution?
  • What physical processes affect the evolution and final structure/composition of planets?
  • What are the compositions of the planets in our Solar System?
  • What are exoplanets made of?
  • What determines the final architecture of planetary systems?
  • MY RESEARCH

    Planet Formation

    Today, we know that planets are common and diverse astronomical objects. We still don't know, however, how planets form. In addition, we still need to understand whether our Solar System is unique. My research deals with planetary formation focusing on the formation of gaseous-rich planets inside and outside the Solar System. In particular, I try to understand the formation of the outer planets. I investigate what are the predicted compositions of giant planets formed by different mechanisms, and how the planetary composition depends on its birth environment. I also explore the connection between the planetary formation process and the long-term (thermal) evolution of the planets.

    Planet Formation

    Today, we know that planets are common and diverse astronomical objects. We still don't know, however, how planets form. In addition, we still need to understand whether our Solar System is unique. My research deals with planetary formation focusing on the formation of gaseous-rich planets inside and outside the Solar System. In particular, I try to understand the formation of the outer planets. I investigate what are the predicted compositions of giant planets formed by different mechanisms, and how the planetary composition depends on its birth environment. I also explore the connection between the planetary formation process and the long-term (thermal) evolution of the planets.

    Photo of Me

    Planetary Interiors

    Another aspect of my research is planetary interiors. The aim is to determine the composition and internal structures of planets. Key questions I try to answer include: What are the compositions and internal structure of the outer planets? Do giant planets have cores, and if yes, and are they "fuzzy"? Do giant planets have distinct layers or are they homogeneously mixed? What is the dominate heat transport mechanism in gaseous planets? How can we link planetary composition with planet formation and evolution? Modelling planets in the solar system and exoplanets is different. By nature, extrasolar planet research is more statistical and covers a much larger parameter range while studies of Solar System's planets that are constrained by very accurate measurements focus more on detailed physical/chemical processes. In both cases, we need to understand the behaviour of materials at extreme, linking planetary science with high-pressure physics.

    Planetary Interiors

    Photo of Me

    Another aspect of my research is planetary interiors. The aim is to determine the composition and internal structures of planets. Key questions I try to answer include: What are the compositions and internal structure of the outer planets? Do giant planets have cores, and if yes, and are they "fuzzy"? Do giant planets have distinct layers or are they homogeneously mixed? What is the dominate heat transport mechanism in gaseous planets? How can we link planetary composition with planet formation and evolution? Modelling planets in the solar system and exoplanets is different. By nature, extrasolar planet research is more statistical and covers a much larger parameter range while studies of Solar System's planets that are constrained by very accurate measurements focus more on detailed physical/chemical processes. In both cases, we need to understand the behaviour of materials at extreme, linking planetary science with high-pressure physics.

    Exoplanets Characterization

    Today, more than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered. A key question in exoplanetary science is to characterise these planets, i.e., understand what they are made of. In our research we concentrate on planets that have measured masses and radii and infer their mean density, and bulk composition. We explore the behaviour of the Mass-Radius (M-R) diagram for various model assumptions, equations of state, etc. In addition, we search for trends and correlations in exoplanetary data such as how the composition depends on stellar properties, the relation between orbital period and planetary radius, and the behaviour of the M-R for different planet masses. We then use these information to better understand planet formation and evolution.

    Photo of Me

    Exoplanets Characterization

    Photo of Me

    Today, more than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered. A key question in exoplanetary science is to characterise these planets, i.e., understand what they are made of. In our research we concentrate on planets that have measured masses and radii and infer their mean density, and bulk composition. We explore the behaviour of the Mass-Radius (M-R) diagram for various model assumptions, equations of state, etc. In addition, we search for trends and correlations in exoplanetary data such as how the composition depends on stellar properties, the relation between orbital period and planetary radius, and the behaviour of the M-R for different planet masses. We then use these information to better understand planet formation and evolution.

    CV SUMMARY

    Education

    Ph.D.
    June 2008 (excellence program), Tel-Aviv University
    B.Sc
    January 2004, Tel-Aviv University, dean’s list

    Academic Appointments

    2016-present
    Associate Professor, Institute for Computational Science, University of Zurich
    2015-2016
    Associate Professor, Dept. Geophysics & Planetary Science, Tel-Aviv University
    2011-2015
    Assistant Professor, Dept. Geophysics & Planetary Science, Tel-Aviv University
    2009-2011
    Assistant Researcher, UCLA, Department of Earth, Planetary & Space Sciences
    2008-2009
    Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA, Department of Earth, Planetary & Space Sciences
    2001-2004
    Research Assistant, School of Physics & Astronomy, Tel-Aviv University

    Space mission involvement

    Science team member
    Science team member
    Interior working group leader and consortium member

    IN THE MEDIA & ONLINE TALKS

    ONLINE TALKS:
  • Zurich Art Weekend: Art & Science, 2019
  • The Planet Jupiter, E.A.T 2019
  • Planet Formation: TAUVOD (Tel-Aviv, 2016, in Hebrew)
  • Alternative Formation Theory and Structure of Giant Planets: 33rd Winter School in Theoretical Physics - Exoplanets (Jerusalem, 2015)
  • Giant Planet Formation and Internal Structure: Protostars & Planets VI (2013).
  • The Juno mission to Jupiter: Astro-club (TAU, 2013, in Hebrew)