Debris Disks and the Formation of Planets: A Symposium in Memory of Fred Gillett

April 11-April 13, 2002

NOAO, Tucson, AZ


The scientific objectives of this symposium are to review the state of our understanding of planetary debris disks and to explore their connection to the formation of other planetary systems and to the Solar System. We also intend for this meeting to honor the memory of Fred Gillett, who died in April of 2001, and to recognize his fundamental contributions to the discovery and early investigation of debris disks. There will be six plenary sessions for invited talks and discussion. In addition, there is time in the agenda specifically to view and discuss poster papers, plus the opportunity in the plenary session for each poster presenter to give a very short "oral teaser" about his/her poster. The six plenary sessions are:

  1. A brief history of the discovery of debris disks, highlighting Fred's role.
  2. Progenitors. Protostellar disks will be reviewed, including disk dynamics, evolution, and lifetimes. This session will also debate the evidence that massive discrete bodies are common in these objects.
  3. Debris disks. This session will start with a review of current data and understanding of debris disks, including discussion of direct imaging and debris disk lifetimes and how they relate to the ages of the parent stars. The evidence for substantial amounts of gas in young disks will be introduced and debated, and the connection, if any, to giant planet formation will be raised. At the other end of the age spectrum, what the dust optical depth is telling us about the evolution of the putative nascent planetary systems will be explored.
  4. Descendents and connection to the Solar System. After a review of the characteristics of what's known about other planetary systems, including what can be learned from the morphology of debris disks (i.e. warping due to presence of massive bodies), this session will investigate arguments that link the Kuiper Belt to debris disks.
  5. Where do we go from here? Review of the existing and planned observational capabilities for examining debris disks and related objects, and what can be expected in terms of new data in the future. Additionally, advances in theory and modeling that will be needed to ensure continued progress in the field.
  6. Summary and retrospective.

The symposium will be held in Tucson, AZ, at the University Park Marriott Hotel on April 11, 12, and 13, 2002. Note that the symposium will begin at 8:30 am on April 11 and end at 12:30 pm on April 13.