Welcome

I am an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science, at The University of British Columbia.

Research Plan

My research program has the overarching vision to study planet formation as holistically as possible. I strive to explore multiple epochs in planet formation, from processes in the early stages of disk evolution (setting initial conditions) to the long-term orbital configurations of planets and their debris (what is usually observed).  Questions that drive my program include:  How does the star formation process itself and the early evolution of circumstellar disks affect the formation of planets?  How were primitive solids thermally processed during the formation of the Solar System and what can they tell us about planet formation in general?  What are common formation channels for planet building?  Which processes are the most important for giving rise to the diversification of planetary system architectures?  What do debris systems (including Solar System debris) tell us about planet formation?  In what ways is the Solar System unique and in what ways is it typical?  These questions directly address major issues in both planetary and exoplanetary sciences.

Research Tools

We use a combination of high-end computing and observations to address our science questions. In particular, we use simulation and modeling to explore the evolution of planet-forming disks, the dynamical interactions between planets, and the thermal processing of meteorite parent body materials through shocks during planet building. We also use the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillmeter Array, one of the most powerful observing facilities on the planet, to test models. 

Research Team and Mentorship

Our research team:
  • A. P. Granados Contreras (PhD student), working on dynamical interactions among planets in exoplanetary systems
  • J. White (MSc student), analyzing ALMA data of planet-forming discs
  • A. Hughes (MSc student), investigating planetesimal formation
  • B. Pearce (USRA student), simulating shock producing mechanisms in planet-forming discs
Former members:
  • C. Mann (SURE award undergraduate), simulating chondrule formation in bow shocks
  • N. Leach (undergraduate), melting of asteroids with application to chondrule formation

Please read about my commitment to mentorship here.

Contact Information

Department of Physics and Astronomy
6224 Agricultural Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Email: acboley@
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