Winter Schools at the University of Central Florida are being designed to focus on a topic of relevance to some part of the planetary community, either by introducing something relatively new to people who are not yet heavily engaged in it or by developing a new approach or technique within an established research area. The first such Winter School is a three-day learning workshop geared toward planetary scientists who are interested in exoplanets. By bringing together (a) planetary scientists working on projects in exoplanets, (b) planet searchers interested in planetary physics, and (c) exoplanet researchers seeking planetary science students and collaborators, it will provide a base of knowledge, a showcase for the latest results, and a productive environment for networking and brainstorming.
The Winter School integrates research and education directly, and promotes the training and learning of graduate students. It will also facilitate the broad dissemination of current research results, enhancing the understanding of these topics by planetary scientists, and is specifically designed to act as an incubator for new research projects and new collaborations.
The University of Central Florida's Winter Workshop 2010: Exoplanets for Planetary Scientists attracted 73 professional astronomers and graduate students to Orlando, Florida, to present their work and to learn about research on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. The workshop had six sessions, each led by an invited speaker who provided a graduate-student-level introductory review of the topic of that session, facilitating cross-disciplinary discussions and the initiation of collaboration in the ample discussion time. Contributed talks and posters filled out the program. A seventh session, on the technical definition of "planet", engendered a lively discussion. The grant included support for travel for invited speakers and graduate students. The collected talks and posters are archived on the conference web site, http://planets.ucf.edu/meetings/winterworkshop2010. The sessions were: Exoplanet Discovery and Missions Chair: Andrew Collier Cameron, University of St. Andrews, Scotland School: Anatomy of a successful search program Measurements of Exoplanets Chair: Drake Deming, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center School: Planning measurement and analysis of exoplanets What is a Planet? Special talk by Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute Atmospheres and Interiors of Exoplanets Chair: Adam Showman, University of Arizona School: Hot planets meet cool theory Surfaces, Oceans, and Life Chair: Eric Gaidos, University of Hawaii School: Physics of Terrestrial Planets What You Need to Know About Stars to Study Exoplanets Chair: Jeff Valenti, Space Telescope Science Institute School: Stars are not blackbodies (and why that matters for exoplanets) Gravity Chair: Renu Malhotra, University of Arizona School: Basics of disks and migration theory