Dr. Ragozzine's Nice, France Obersvatoire Sabbatical

In the pursuit of advancing planetary science research, Dr. Darin Ragozzine embarked on a transformative 6-month sabbatical earlier this year, immersing himself and his family in the intellectual richness of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA) in Nice, France. With a keen focus on enhancing his expertise in planet formation and small bodies research, Dr. Ragozzine aimed to collaborate with some of the world's leading planetary scientists. The OCA provided the perfect backdrop for mutual co-authorship and collaborative endeavors that promised to elevate Dr. Ragozzine's externally-funded research program. 

During his work at the OCA, Dr. Ragozzine had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with renowned planetary dynamics theorist Alessandro Morbidelli on a new exoplanet-focused project. Their collaboration led to a groundbreaking finding about the cohabitation of planets within inner solar system regions. Notably, they observed that while small and medium, or medium and large planets can coexist in these regions, large and small planets cannot. This novel discovery offers valuable insights into the formation (or lack thereof) of different-sized planets within the same solar system region. Dr. Ragozzine and his research assistant are actively working to unravel the mystery of this planetary phenomenon through the lens of planet formation theory.

Dr. Ragozzine’s research collaboration in Nice, France was only one part of his sabbatical experience. Not wanting to squander an opportunity, his family purchased a used minivan and traveled nearly 20,000 miles across Europe. Together, they visited dozens of cities and several countries, appreciating various famous landmarks, attending different temples, and engaging in a rich cultural and educational experience. Visiting these different places also served as an opportunity to further Dr. Ragozzine’s research purposes and promote recognition of BYU among the European astronomy community. From Prague, Czech Republic to Belfast, Ireland, Dr. Ragozzine gave numerous colloquium presentations and met up with research collaborators. Overall, Dr. Ragozzine’s sabbatical proved to be an exceptionally enriching experience, not only for his research but also for his family and the BYU astronomy program. 


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