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Sounding the Stars with Genetic Algorithms

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Uploaded on Feb 10, 2009

Google Tech Talks
January 13, 2009

ABSTRACT

In February 2009 NASA will launch the Kepler satellite, a mission designed to discover habitable Earth-like planets around distant Sun-like stars. The method that Kepler will use to detect distant worlds will only reveal the size of the planet relative to the size of the host star, so part of the mission is devoted to characterizing distant Suns using a technique known as "asteroseismology". I have developed an automated approach to matching computer models of stars to such observations, based primarily on a parallel genetic algorithm. I will give a broad overview of how we can probe the insides of stars using seismology, and I will provide a general background on the operation of our model-fitting application. I will conclude with our first results on a nearby star: the Sun.

Speaker: Travis Metcalfe
Travis Metcalfe is an astronomer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He started his career in the backyard of his childhood home in rural Oregon, and continued it in such places as Tucson, Austin, and Boston before landing in Boulder four years ago.

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