September 20, 2018
"Observing our Interstellar Chemical Origins" presented by Olivia Harper Wilkins (Chemistry, Mathematics ’15), Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Caltech
Join us as we welcome back Olivia Harper Wilkins (chemistry, mathematics ’15), Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Caltech, for our first Rush Hour of the semester, "Observing our Interstellar Chemical Origins". An abundance of so-called complex organic molecules having six or more atoms have been detected in the interstellar medium, the regions between stars where giant clouds of dust and gas collapse into new stars and planetary systems. While the formation of these complex organics is not well-understood, they may be the key to understanding the chemistry that evolved into even higher degrees of complexity observed in comets and meteorites and perhaps even a prebiotic chemistry. Astrochemistry is an interdisciplinary approach to investigating how complex chemistry begins in the earliest stages of star formation. Observations of molecules such as methanol in the Orion KL nebula is the first step towards untangling even more complex chemistry in outer space. Pizza and light refreshments will be served.