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We have entered an exciting era in which we are able to search for water and biomarkers in exoplanet atmospheres. But to fully understand the planetary diversity that we are observing and Earth’s position within it, we have to know the conditions at the onset of planet formation. In this talk, I will present the exciting new landscape of planet formation that is governed by physical and chemical processes occurring in young (< 1 Myr) circumstellar disks. I will show results from my observational campaigns that have provided the first detailed view of the physical and chemical conditions in the planet-forming zone. We will start in the outer disk, where I will show that the composition of planetary building blocks is different than typically assumed. We will then move inward to the location where water ice desorbs from the dust grains. This so-called snowline has long been posited as a key site for planet formation and I will present the most detailed study of its location to date. Finally, we will discuss the hot innermost region and a possible explanation for the very low carbon content of our own Earth.
Zoom link: https://go.illinois.edu/AstroColloquium