Are We Alone in the Universe?
What is humanity doing to try to answer the question ‘Are We Alone?’ and where are we likely to discover life in the near future?
In the last 20 years astronomers have found thousands of planets around other stars. From these discoveries we can infer that every star hosts some kind of planetary system, and that Earth-like planets are common in the universe. However, archaeologists have not found ancient abandoned spacecraft. There is no evidence that we have been visited by technological aliens. And radio astronomers have not found any signals from advanced aliens. Where is everybody? The vast majority of Homo sapiens (including science fiction enthusiasts and professional astronomers) believe that we are not alone. Astrobiologist Charley Lineweaver will discuss the reasons and evidence they give for their opinion, and the evidence that undermines their opinion. What is humanity doing to try to answer the question ‘Are We Alone?’ and where are we likely to discover life in the near future? And what does the word ‘we’ means in the question ‘Are We Alone?’
Charles H. Lineweaver is an associate professor and astrobiologist at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Research School of Earth Science. His astrobiological research involves the origin of the Earth, the origin of life and the origin of cancer. He studies the statistical distribution of exoplanets, the cosmic microwave background radiation, and cosmological prerequisites for the formation of terrestrial planets and life.
This lecture is organised in co-operation with the Fundamentals of Life in the Universe Symposium, that is kindly supported by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). More information