Asteroseismology -- the study of stellar interiors via --
"starquakes" -- has been around for a century, but it is now
entering a new and exciting phase. Seismic measurements from thousands
of stars allow us to listen in on a cosmic symphony, and also to probe
their physics, their life, and, by implication, the fate of the
exoplanets that may surround them. The recent revolution in our
knowledge of stars and of exoplanetary systems, thanks to the space
missions CoRoT and Kepler, will be highlighted. Dr Aerts
will end by discussing how ongoing and future seismic studies will
reveal the structure of our Milky Way galaxy, find the ages of its stars,
and, perhaps soon, aid in the search for analogs of our planet Earth
around other stars.
Conny Aerts is the Director of the Institute of Astronomy, Leuven
University, Belgium and the Chair of Asteroseismology, Radboud
University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She received her Ph.D. from Leuven
University in 1993, after bouncing around the international
observatories located in the Chilean Atacama desert and the French Alps.
Her curiosity about stars began in elementary school. At age 15, she
knew she needed more mathematics to be an astronomer and took it upon
herself to switch schools and endure 3-hour commutes to get it. Among
her many honors, her contributions to asteroseismology were recognized
by the King of Belgium when she received the "Belgian Nobel Prize"
-- the first woman to receive this award in the "hard sciences."
Introduction by Lars Bildsten
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