B. Militzer studies the interiors of giant planets with computer simulations in order to understand their structure and evolution. Since materials in planetary interiors are exposed to extreme temperature and pressure conditions that cannot yet be reached with laboratory experiments. B. Militzer instead relies on highly accurate simulations from first principles. He and collaborators recently predicted the existence of a massive core in Jupiter of 14 Earth masses.
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When the Galileo probe descended through Jupiter's atmosphere in 1995, it found neon to be one-tenth as abundant as predicted. This unexpected finding has led two UC Berkeley researchers to propose that this is due to a rain of helium that depletes Jupiter's layers of neon as well as helium.