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[Virtual] Astrobiology: Looking for Life in the Cosmic Ocean

January 16 @ 10:30 AM 12:00 PM

Shane Larson, Ph.D., Associate Director of CIERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics), will speak on the topic, Astrobiology: Looking for Life in the Cosmic OceanHumans have speculated for centuries that, perhaps, Earth is not the only haven for life in the Cosmos.  Hollywood has speculated wildly that life may exist in many places, in many imagined forms.  But it is only in the last few decades that scientists have begun to explore the question of whether or not we are alone in the Universe.  The discovery of planets around other stars, the discovery of life in exotic and inhospitable environments on Earth, and a growing (but still incomplete) understanding of how life on Earth works have all come together to make a new body of knowledge called “astrobiology.”  We’ll survey human thinking about life in the Cosmos, from our historical and fictional speculations, to our current scientific ideas, and what possible future discoveries might hold in store.

Shane Larson previously divided his time between the Adler Planetarium and Northwestern University.  Now he is full time at CIERA.  Shane works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy.  He grew up in eastern Oregon, receiving his B.S. in Physics from Oregon State University in 1991.  He then earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (1999) from Montana State University.  He is an award winning teacher, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.  Shane contributes regularly to a public science blog at writescience.wordpress.com, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi.

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