Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dr Rebecca Nealon, Stephen Hawking Fellowship

Warped Discs and the Birthplace of Misaligned Planets

Misaligned protoplanetary discs and their impact on planet formation lies at the heart of a Stephen Hawking Fellowship awarded to Dr Rebecca Nealon.

A protoplanetary disc is the location of the birthplaces of planets. The disc, which comprises dense gas and dust, surrounds a newly formed star. As the planets in our own solar system are all aligned so their orbits are in one plane, we might imagine that discs where planets are formed around other stars are also aligned.

However, recent observations have shown that there are a number of systems where this is not the case.

Dr Nealon is one of the first of nine Stephen Hawking Fellows who will continue Professor Stephen Hawking’s legacy by furthering our understanding of the universe and communicating the wonders of science to the public.

New beginnings: A protoplanetary disc is a rotating disc of dense gas and dust surrounding a young star.

Dr Rebecca Nealon.

Dr Rebecca Nealon commented: “I am delighted to be awarded a Stephen Hawking Fellowship. This research is so timely given that observations are continuously finding evidence of misalignments, and I'm very pleased to be given the opportunity to pursue these. I'm also thrilled to be joining the world-leading research group at Warwick and to contribute to their research and excellent outreach programmes.”