Rock, Rattle and Roll

Rock, Rattle and Roll

Planetary scientists seek to fill in gaps in outer solar system’s formative years

By Nadia Drake, 11:42 AM April 19, 2012

Most scientists don’t wear protective headgear while giving talks. Then again, most scientists aren’t the target of pastry-wielding colleagues.

But last October, when astronomer Hal Levison presented what he called a “slightly radical” mechanism for building the solar system’s giant planets, he was ready.

“I’m really a little intimidated about the reaction to this,” Levison said, reaching behind the podium and retrieving a baseball catcher’s mask, which he donned during his presentation, a...

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