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Juliette Becker

NSF Fellowship | Exoplanet Dynamics | Advisor: Fred Adams

PhD Research: The burgeoning field of exoplanets has resulted in the discovery of nearly ten thousand planets around distant stars via a variety of observational methods (radial velocities, transit photometry, microlensing, direct imaging). This growing population of planets presents a statement on the current state of these systems, but it remains a largely open question both how these individual systems formed and what exactly are the specific mechanisms that dictate their evolution. Juliette Becker attacks this problem with a combination of observational and theoretical methods, using data as an inspiration for a more general dynamical analysis of planetary orbits. Currently, Becker is using Laplace-Lagrange secular theory to predict the excitation of inclination in tightly packed, multi-planet systems, with the aim to better understand the multi-planet Kepler sample.

Exciting Discovery: Along with her advisor, Becker and colleagues recently discovered a hot Jupiter system with two close-in planetary companions using data from the Kepler space telescope. It is the first hot Jupiter found with any close-in planets. This new discovery will help scientists who are trying to understand how planets form and migrate in solar systems.

Why Michigan?

Faculty Access: “It’s a very positive, welcoming department. The faculty-to-student ratio is amazing. You can really interact with all of the faculty. They are accessible and actually have time to have discussions and answer questions for you.”