Big questions in exoplanetary science

Nikku Madhusudhan


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This book is a compendium of key scientific questions, challenges, and opportunities across different areas of exoplanetary science. The field is currently experiencing rapid growth, and the book provides a front-row view of the advancements at the cutting-edge of the field. Each chapter contains a short exposition on the most important open questions, challenges, and opportunities in a specific area from the perspective of one or more top experts in the area. It provides a starting point for researchers, experts and non-experts alike, to obtain a quick overview of the forefront of exoplanetary science and a vision for the future of the field. Topics range from observational developments and techniques, including exoplanet detection and characterisation methods and state-of-the-art and future missions, to exoplanet theory and modelling including planet formation, planetary interiors, atmospheres, habitability and the search for life.

Key Features

  • Provides a close-up view of the frontiers of exoplanetary science research
  • Summarises key questions, challenges, and opportunities across different areas of the field
  • Written by leading experts in the field
  • Provides a valuable reference for early career researchers
  • Topics span from state-of-the-art and emerging areas to long-term future directions


Nikku Madhusudhan:

Nikku Madhusudhan is a Professor of Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. His research interests span a wide range of areas in exoplanetary science, including exoplanetary atmospheres, interiors, formation and habitability. His work has been recognised with various awards and honours, including the 2014 Vainu Bappu Gold Medal in Astrophysics by the Astronomical Society of India, the 2016 Young Scientist Medal by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Commission on Astrophysics, the 2019 MERAC Prize in Theoretical Astrophysics by the European Astronomical Society, and the 2019 Pilkington Prize for excellence in teaching at the University of Cambridge.