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Water in the Universe

258th National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 25-29 August 2019

Final Program

Prof. Geoffrey A. Blake (California Institute of Technology Davis)
Dr. Sergio Ioppolo (Queen Mary University of London)


Formed from two of the most abundant elements in the universe, the special chemical and physical properties of water make it a uniquely important molecule in the quest to understand our origins. Dramatic advances in observational capabilities from millimeter-wave to infrared wavelengths and in our ability to study water vapor, liquid water, and water ice from first principles calculations and with ever more capable laboratory methods now enables astronomers, planetary scientists and chemists to follow the "water trail" from the interstellar medium to mature (exo)planetary systems. The timing of the proposed meeting is particularly relevant to this topic, as by summer 2019 the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) will have completed two observing cycles with its full suite of imaging and high frequency capabilities that are particularly critical to studies of water and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will have over a year of scientific results in hand. Although delayed until 2021, the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will provide another orbital observing platform to study exoplanet atmospheres. Thus, exoplanet science is entering the phase that explores the nature of potentially habitable terrestrial planets. This symposium will highlight the cosmic history of water, its critical role in the formation and early evolution of planetary systems, and the means by which habitable environments are created across the universe. With a strong focus on the chemistry of, and enabled by, water, and the interplay between studies of our own and exoplanetary systems, we aim to create a program that will draw in a wide range of chemists and (planetary) astronomers to the San Diego meeting.

Session Topics:

  • Water at cosmic distances
  • Water in the interstellar medium (from diffuse to dense molecular clouds)
  • Water and associated volatiles in protoplanetary disks (snow lines, planetesimal and planet formation)
  • Water and associated volatiles in the solar system and debris disks (comets, icy satellites, meteorites)
  • Water in exoplanetary systems
  • Water and associated volatile delivery to young, rocky planets
  • Spread throughout all sessions – Ab initio theory, chemical modeling, and laboratory astrophysics studies of the water and water-rich ices