The Chemistry of the Universe
Summary: Molecules make up the world around us and serve as the building blocks to life as we know it on Earth. The questions remain as to how these molecules form and are incorporated into planets, and whether life might form elsewhere in the universe. Astrochemists study the chemistry of space and the evolution of molecules as stars and planets form. In this talk, I will overview my astrochemistry research program that incorporates laboratory spectroscopy, observational astronomy, and astrochemical modeling to decipher the chemistry that might lead to life in the universe.
Susanna Widicus Weaver, Vozza Professor of Chemistry and Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin is an expert in prebiotic astrochemistry. Her research, combining laboratory spectroscopy, observational astronomy, and chemical modeling, is aimed at understanding the mechanisms driving interstellar chemistry and the pathways for the formation of life. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Illinois Wesleyan University (2000) and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Caltech (2005). She was a postdoctoral fellow in Chemistry and Astronomy at the University of Illinois from 2005-2008. Before moving to Wisconsin, she was a Professor of Chemistry at Emory University. She is a passionate teacher and leads an active and diverse research group involving many students (https://widicusweaver.chem.wisc.edu).
This meeting will take place in-person at our usual Space Place classroom location. It will also be streamed live to our Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCapyLmVtazhO6gB3dRjrjlQ.