Thesis progress and Kepler

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The months have flown by since my last update. Since August, I have been working hard on trying to get the Mab-problem sorted out. I am now at the stage that I can hopefully start drawing conclusions from my results that will have a bearing on whether the hypothesis of the study can be valid. I attended the Dvision on Planetary Sciences meeting in Nantes, France in October. The meeting was very interesting and led to a number of fruitful dynamics discussions. In addition, I have been auditing a class on Solar System dynamics at UC-Berkeley, given by Dr. Eugene Chiang. Most definitely, my understanding and appreciation of the fascinating world of celestial mechanics has come on in leaps and bounds. I’ve been fascinated in particular by the implications of the dynamics theory presented in the class on various fields of research, including the formation and evolution of the Kuiper belt, the main asteroid belt, and exoplanet systems.

I am currently attending the First Kepler Science Conference at NASA Ames Research Center, which has further opened my eyes to the outstanding questions relating to planetary formation and evolution. In addition, I am attending the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco (unfortunate that both conferences fall in the same week), where I will be giving a talk about the results obtained from the NASA Planetary Science Summer School, which I participated in July of this year. I will be moving back to The Netherlands on the 16th of December for approximately six months, to pursue my thesis work further. Hopefully, I will be able to submit my paper on Mab’s anomalous orbital behaviour within the next month. Stay tuned!

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