Left, Center: Ternary diagrams of stellar Mg, Fe and Si & Al, Ca and Na abundances for 1111 FGK stars in Adibekyan et al., 2012, the Sun (Asplund et al,, 2005) is shown in red. Right: Radius and average density of all currently observed exoplanets with both mass and radius data available. Data are color-coded according to their observed mass (adapted from exoplanets.org). 

The Earth is a habitable, dynamic planet. The above figure shows the results of a recent survey of planetary host and non-host stars which found variations of between 10 and 400% of Solar in the abundance of the major (Mg, Fe, Si) and minor (Ca, Al, Na) terrestrial planet-building elements. On the right is the terrestrial exoplanet dataset, showing planets ranging in size, mass and density from sub-Venus to super-Earth. These stars and planets represent compositions and structures unlike anything in our Solar System. This diversity raises the questions: How different are these planets and planetary systems from the Earth and our Solar System, and what, then is the likelihood of dynamic, habitable Earth-like planets in our Galaxy? My research combines observations and models from geodynamics, cosmochemistry, astronomy and astrophysics, geochemistry and mineral physics to answer these questions. I also look to our Solar System in my work, particularly Venus, to understand which compositional and evolutionary paths lead to lifeless, inhospitable planets, thus constraining from the outside-in, exactly what makes the Earth unique.

My current research falls broadly into two areas, linked below:

Dynamics, mineralogy and structure of exoplanets

Dynamics and chemistry of planet formation