I propose an ambitious research programme in theoretical astrophysics,
dedicated to studying three key questions related to the formation of planets
around the Sun as well as around other stars:
1. Are there efficient ways to sediment dust in protoplanetary discs?
2. How do asteroids form -- and how do they grow?
3. Why are so many stars orbited by systems of multiple super-Earths?
I will attack these questions using a combination of state-of-the-art computer
codes to model the sedimentation of dust grains to the mid-plane of a
protoplanetary disc, the accretion of millimeter-sized "sand grains" (similar
to the chondrules found in primitive meteorites) onto young asteroids, as well
as how systems of several super-Earths can form from solid material which piles
up in the innermost regions of the gaseous protoplanetary discs which surround