Guest lecture: Alain Goriely

On the shape of gravitating planets

Alain Goriely, University of Oxford
October 22, 2019

Abstract: A classic problem of elasticity is to determine the possible equilibria of a planet modelled as a homogeneous compressible spherical elastic body subject to its own gravitational field. In the absence of gravity the initial radius is given and the density is constant. With gravity and for small planets, the elastic deformations are small enough so that the spherical equilibria can be readily obtained by using the theory of linear elasticity. For larger or denser planets, large deformations are possible and surprising behaviours emerge as will be revealed during this talk.