Planetary interiors are natural laboratories of extreme pressure and temperature conditions, and most material properties remain unknown in this regime. Using computer simulations based on first principles (quantum mechanics), we can predict what happens with materials at these conditions and use them to learn about the interior of planets in our solar system as well as exoplanetary interiors. These studies are tightly connected with inertial confinement fusion experiments, where extreme conditions, such as warm dense matter, have to be generated in the path to nuclear fusion.
SPEAKER: Felipe González.
Earth and Planetary Science Department, University of California, Berkeley
Felipe González is a Chilean physicist whose field of study is matter at extreme conditions. In his PhD, Felipe used condensed matter physics techniques to address the question of whether Jupiter’s core can be dissolved by metallic hydrogen, as well as studying the stability of iron at the Earth’s inner core and the properties of silicate melts at high pressure. After completing his PhD in Physics at the Universidad de Chile in 2015, he worked for the Chilean Nuclear Energy Center (CCHEN) investigating material damage by deuterium irradiation through atomistic simulation to understand whether some materials resilient enough to withstand radiation in large tokamaks, like ITER.
Immediately after, he joined the group of Burkhard Militzer at the Earth and Planetary Science Department, in UC Berkeley in 2016, where he has been working as a postdoc since then. Using first principles calculations, he has explored properties of materials at extreme conditions to investigate the interior of planets and exoplanets, how they form and evolve. His studies also include the characterization of warm dense matter and shock compression physics, where thermodynamics of strongly interacting, ionized matter is fundamental to generate accurate equations of state of materials in this regime.