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Astronomer Malcolm is returning after the resounding success of his previous 5.0 out of 5-star series. This time, he's embarking on a new venture with a series of 5 captivating talks. These talks will delve into one of the most profound questions that has intrigued mankind for centuries: Are we alone in the vast expanse of the Universe?
In these talks, Malcolm will skilfully guide us through the intricacies of seeking evidence for life beyond our own planet. He will explore the fascinating possibilities of life existing elsewhere in the Universe and share insights on how we can uncover this evidence.
Furthermore, Malcolm will delve into the origins of life on our very own planet, Earth. He'll unravel the mysteries of how and why life first emerged here and discuss how we can apply this knowledge to identify potential cradles of life in the farthest reaches of the Universe.
These talks promise to tackle fundamental questions about our place in the grand tapestry of the Universe. Are we drawing closer to unravelling the enigma of extra-terrestrial life? Join us for these thought-provoking discussions in just 5 talks, and let's journey together into the cosmos.
Talk 1 – The Big Picture. Why is this important? This will be an introduction to the series and will summarise the way in which scientists are thinking about the question of the search for life. How have astronomers and space scientists have been seeking clues for extra-terrestrial life over the last couple of decades?
Talk 2 – Star Birth & Death. In this talk will look at the way we think stars & planets get created and die. It will start by focussing on our own Solar System, and then look further afield at planets around other nearby star systems. How many of these star systems could be homes for life?
Talk 3 – Home. In this session we will look at when & how we think life started on Planet Earth. We’ll look with amazement at the extreme life-forms that survive on our planet – the extremophiles. How does that inform our search elsewhere? And, of course, talk a bit about the major hazards to all life on Planet Earth (beyond ourselves!).
Talk 4 – Panspermia – the theory that life arrived on Planet Earth from outer space. The evidence for the existence of the building blocks of life all around the universe, and the possible ways they might have been delivered to Planet Earth 3-4 billion years ago. And along the way we’ll look at the dangerous parts of our Milky Way galaxy where wandering life would be under great threat.
Talk 5 – Our neighbourhood. This talk will focus on the planet on our stellar doorstep – Mars. We have every reason to believe that Mars started off as the Earth did, with oceans and an atmosphere. Though this changed over the first billion or so years there is great hope that life might have independently started here and could even possibly still be hiding in caves or crevices. To find clear evidence of an alternative form of life on Mars would open the door to astronomical possibilities for life elsewhere in the cosmos.
- Duration: 5 x 60 mins
- Online Zoom event: Join from your computer, phone or tablet (a recording will be available)
Meet the Host, Malcolm
Malcolm Coe is an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Southampton, UK. For over 4 decades he transmitted his enthusiasm for astronomy to hundreds of students, winning awards for his creative teaching style. In parallel he conducted research into star birth and star death, publishing over 200 papers in leading international journals. In 2017 he had an asteroid named after himself.
He feels great excitement for modern astronomy and the insights it offers into the world around us. To that end he has given popular lectures on cruise ships for over a decade, countless lectures to adult groups (U3A, astronomy societies, Probus, Soroptimist etc), plus many talks to school children. He was a Trustee and is now an Honorary Life member of the leading science museum south of London, the Winchester Science Centre.
Preparing for the Event
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