UCLA Planet Formation Group

Hilke E. Schlichting


My research interests lie at the intersection of astrophysics and planetary sciences. In my work I combine exoplanet-research with the study of our Solar System and take advantage of this powerful synergy to develop a comprehensive understanding of planet formation. My group focuses on pioneering new theoretical models, which are motivated and guided by cutting-edge observations and geochemical measurements, with the goal of explaining the origin and diversity of exoplanets and placing the formation of our own Solar System into context. Ultimately, I would like to answer where we come from and why life evolved in the Universe where it did.


Research Interests

I am an Associate Professor in Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences and in Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. In addition, I hold a visiting faculty appointment at MIT in EAPS and Physics.



Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences

University of California, Los Angeles  

595 Charles E. Young Dr. East

Los Angeles

CA 90095-1567

Email: hilke AT ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 825-5130

Office:  4644 Geology Building


PhD.: Astrophysics, Caltech 2009

         Advisor: Re’em Sari

BA., M.S.,: Physics, University of  

         Cambridge, 2004








Last Updated: September 2019

Observing with SOFIA


Congratulations, Dr. Biersteker!

John successfully defended his PhD at MIT in August 2019. He worked on oblate exoplanets (Biersteker & Schlichtig 2017), the solar system’s nebula magnetic field (Biersteker et al. 2019) and atmospheric loss from giant impacts (Biersteker & Schlichting 2019).

New Video

Emilie Eshbaugh made this video explaining how the observed radius valley in the exoplanet size distribution can be  explained as a by product of planet formation with the core powered mass-loss mechanism (more details can be found in Ginzburg, Schlichting & Sari, 2018, Gupta & Schlichting 2019).