Ever since we realized that the stars were distant suns, we have wondered if there were also planets circling them, and speculated as to whether or not there might also be life on them. In the last two decades, new planets have been discovered at a prodigious rate. But what about life? Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." We'll chat about what we know of other worlds, what we think life might be like, and how we are attempting to explore the profound question of whether or not we are alone in the Cosmos.
Dr. Larson is the Associate Director at CIERA, Northwestern University astrophysics center He works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy. He received a B.S. in Physics from Oregon State University in 1991 and then earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (1999) from Montana State University. He is an award-winning teacher, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, contributes regularly to a public science blog at writescience.wordpress.com, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi.