Looking deep inside the stars
Science & Cocktails is proud to present an episode with the world-renowned "starquake professor", starring 2022 Kavli Laureate in Astrophysics Conny Aerts. She is Professor at KU Leuven and at Radboud University Nijmegen, and is also an External Member of the Max Planck Society at Heidelberg. Conny Aerts is able to observe the un-observable. She succeeds to do so with waves created by stellar oscillations, sometimes nicknamed starquakes.
What is a starquake? Is it similar to an Earthquake? Why can we see inside stars with the help of starquakes and what do we actually see? Or should we rather say hear... Conny Aerts will take you to the land of stellar oscillations and guide you through the forces of nature governing that land. She will illustrate how the detection and interpretation of stellar oscillations allow us to unravel the internal physics and chemistry of stars. She will also explain how starquakes deliver us a unique fantastic tool to determine how old the stars in our Milky Way are, including our own host, the Sun.
This event is an initiative by the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena (DIEP) with the support of the University of Amsterdam. Science & Cocktails Amsterdam is presented in cooperation with Paradiso Amsterdam.
Conny Aerts, a mathematician and astrophysicist, graduated from Antwerp University in 1988 and completed her PhD at KU Leuven in 1993. Throughout her career, she held various positions at KU Leuven, becoming a Full Professor in 2007. Concurrently, she led the Chair in Asteroseismology at Radboud University Nijmegen since 2004 and served as an External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society since 2019. A pioneer in asteroseismology, her research in stellar astrophysics includes stellar structure, evolution, and variable stars. Notably, she received an ERC Advanced Grant in 2008 and a second in 2016, making significant contributions to the field. Recognized with prestigious awards, including the 2012 Francqui Prize and the 2020 FWO Excellence Award, Conny is the first woman to receive these honors in Science & Technology since their inception. In 2022, she received the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and leads the 2022 ERC Synergy grant 4D-STAR. Additionally, Conny actively contributes to education, mentoring, and serves on international committees, currently playing a significant role in the ESA space mission PLATO (2026+).