Joseph Barranco

Planet Embryos in Vortex Wombs: Vortices in Protoplanetary Disks and the Formation of Planetesimals
Contact information:
Department of Physics & Astronomy
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
Fellowship status:
Starting year: 2003
AAPF alumnus
Fellowship institution: Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (UCSB) & Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Current (or last known) position: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, San Francisco State University
Research Interests:

Like the atmosphere of Jupiter, protoplanetary disks (the flattened disks of gas and dust that orbit newly-formed protostars) are characterized by rapid rotation and intense shear, inspiring proposals that they too may be populated by massive storms analogous to the Great Red Spot. Such vortices may play a key role in the formation of planets by rapidly sweeping-up and concentrating dust particles, which may help in the formation of kilometer-size planetesimals, the "building blocks'' of planets. I study the formation and dynamics of vortices in protoplanetary disks with high-resolution, three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations that run on parallel supercomputers, such as those found at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Education and Outreach Interests: