Home > News and Events > 2018 News > "How to Look for a Liveable Planet" is a free public lecture in a series that begins on January 20

"How to Look for a Liveable Planet" is a free public lecture in a series that begins on January 20

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18 January 2018

John JohnsonA free public lecture titled "How to Look for a Liveable Planet" will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 20, in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The event is the first of six consecutive Saturday-morning lectures in the 2018 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, a free public minicourse that does not require registration or exams. The overall theme of the 2018 series is "Is There Life on Other Planets?" The six speakers are scientists whose research is at the frontiers of the hunt for other planets in the Milky Way galaxy that have conditions suitable for life.

The featured scientist on January 20 is John Johnson, professor of astronomy and director of graduate studies at Harvard University. His lecture will explore this new era when many new techniques and tools are being invented and used to hunt for Earth-like planets with the just-right conditions for life. During his lecture, he also will describe how he found the smallest exoplanet that has been detected so far. Learn how the research team he is leading is developing a new ground-based robotic observatory designed exclusively for discovering and observing Earth-like planets in habitable zones around Sun-like stars.

Future lectures in the 2018 series are:

  • "New Tools for Finding the Closest Earth-Like Planets" on January 27 by Suvrath Mahadevan, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State;
  • "Choose Your Own Adventure: Planet Edition" on February 3 by Sarah Ballard, Torres Fellow in Exoplanetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
  • "The Birth of Habitable Planets" on February 10 by Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State;
  • "What Makes a Planet Habitable?" on February 17 by Janes Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State; and
  • "How to Hunt for Signs of Alien Life" by Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free public minicourse organized and supported by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for eager learners in the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. After presentation, the lectures are closed captioned and then archived online for viewing worldwide. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science and links to archived videos of previous lectures are online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Communications by phone at 814-863-4682 or by e-mail at sci-comm@psu.edu.

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