Searching for Life in a Galaxy Full of Planets

Prof. Paul Robertson (UC Irvine)

Tuesday September 11th 2018 - 7:00 pm ET

101 Jordan Hall of Science

We now know, at least statistically, that we live in a Galaxy full of billions of planets, with more being discovered every day.  But the novelty of adding another planet to our rapidly growing collection is understandably wearing off.  Will we ever get an answer to the really big questions?  Are any of these planets inhabited?  Are any of those inhabitants intelligent?

I will review the techniques astronomers use to find and characterize nearby exoplanets.  Then, I will discuss potential avenues for identifying life on these newly-discovered Galactic neighbors.  We will explore the difference between discovering intelligent extraterrestrials and more simple life, and the importance of each.

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