February 12, 2014: Other Earths and the Origins of Life

Date & Time

About Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite researchers in the area — as well as interested members of the metropolitan public — to join us for this weekly lecture series.

February 12, 2014, 4:30-6:30 p.m. EST
Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation
160 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

dimitarIn this lecture, Dimitar Sasselov will review recent discoveries of exoplanets — planets outside of our solar system — and new estimates of how common potentially habitable worlds appear to be. He will describe new, comprehensive efforts to hone the search for signatures of life on exoplanets. Central to the success of that search is a deeper understanding of the nature of life and its origins. Sasselov will review recent progress from laboratory studies that connects astronomical exploration and the question of life’s origins.

Sasselov studies stars and planets at Harvard University, where he is professor of astronomy. His research explores modes of interaction between light and matter. He and his team discovered several planets orbiting stars outside our solar system with novel techniques, which he hopes to use to find planets like Earth.

Sasselov is founding director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, a cross-disciplinary research effort bridging the physical and life sciences. He was a senior science advisor for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Space Security at the World Economic Forum.

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