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"New Tools for Finding the Closest Earth-Like Planets" -- a free public lecture on January 27, 2018

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24 January 2018

Suvrath Mahadev"New Tools for Finding the Closest Earth-Like Planets" is the second lecture in the free public minicourse titled "Is There Life on Other Planets?" This series of six lectures is the 2018 edition of the annual Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science. The lectures are given on six consecutive Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

The speaker for the lecture on January 27 will be Suvrath Mahadevan, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. His research is on the leading edge of efforts to build innovative new instruments for discovering truly Earth-like planets that are orbiting the closest stars that to our Sun. These instruments are designed to find planets that, like Earth, are fairly small, and that have both solid and liquid surfaces where life can evolve. During his lecture, he will describe new research efforts in this quest -- among them the Habitable Zone Planet Finder, led by Penn State scientists, and now being installed at Penn State's Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

Future lectures in the 2018 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science series are:

-- "Choose Your Own Adventure: Planet Edition" by Sarah Ballard, Torres fellow in exoplanetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on February 3;

-- "The Birth of Habitable Planets" by Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, on February 10;

-- "What Makes a Planet Habitable?" by James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, on February 17; and

-- "How to Hunt for Signs of Alien Life" by Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, on February 24.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free pubic minicourse organized by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call 814-863-4682 or e-mail sci-comm@psu.edu in advance of your participation or visit. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures, is online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

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