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Wladimir Lyra

Wladimir Lyra
Assistant Professor

Contact Info
AY 202A

Expertise: Computer Simulations of Planet Formation, Active Galactic Nuciel Disks, Planetary Atmospheres, Ice Shell Convection




My current research focuses around high-end computer simulations of planet formation. I am interested in the origin of the Earth, the Solar System, and exoplanets. A long-term goal of this research is to establish a model that combines all the necessary physics to simulate the formation of planetary systems, and enable comparisons with observations of exoplanets and circumstellar disks, as well as solar system constrains.

My first author papers have explored: planetesimal formation via disk vortices and streaming instability, the origin of disk vortices via dynamical instabilities, their properties and evolution; planet migration in evolutionary models; and modeling of transition disk observations.

Other interesting planetary objects have occasionally led me to works that fall outside the realm of your garden variety primordial gas-rich circumstellar disk, including debris disks, Kozai-Lidov dynamics, ice shell convection, and shallow water atmospheric models. I have also been working on black hole mergers in AGN disks: as it turns out, it’s a scaled-up version of core accretion scenario for planet formation.

A long, long time ago (I can still remember) I worked on observations.

Current students

  • Harrison Cook – Black hole mergers in AGN disks
  • Manuel Cañas – Streaming instability and pebble accretion in the Kuiper belt
  • Ali Hyder – Shallow water models of Jupiter’s polar atmosphere


  • Fall 2019: Fundamental Astronomy (ASTR503)
  • Spring 2020: Planet Formation Theory (ASTR621)

Recent publications

  • Gas and dust dynamics in starlight-heated protoplanetary disks;
    Flock, M., Turner, N., Nelson, R., Lyra, W., Manger, M., & Klahr, H. 2020, AJ, in press.
  • Evolution of MU69 from a binary planetesimal into contact by Kozai-Lidov oscillations and nebular drag;
    Lyra, W., Youdin, A.N., & Johansen, A. 2020, Icarus, in press.

All Publications

Google scholar