Life in the Universe

Life in the Universe

Date

March 12, 2018 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm

Location

Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 Fourth St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Room

Rm 152

Speaker

Affiliation

Harvard University

Abstract: Is life most likely to emerge at the present cosmic time near a star like the Sun? Dr. Loeb will review the habitability of the Universe throughout cosmic history from the birth of the first stars 30 million years after the Big Bang to the death of the last stars in ten trillion years. Unless habitability around low mass stars is suppressed, life is most likely to exist near stars with a tenth of the solar mass ten trillion years from now. Forthcoming searches for bio-signatures in the atmospheres of transiting Earth-mass planets around nearby low mass stars will determine whether present-day life is indeed premature or typical from a cosmic perspective. 

Abraham (Avi) Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. Loeb published 4 books and nearly 600 papers (with an h-index of 92) on a wide range of topics, including black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe. He serves as Chair of the Department of Astronomy, Founding Director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative and Director of the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) . He also chairs the Advisory Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, serves as the Science Theory Director for all Initiatives of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, and holds the Sackler Senior Professorship by Special Appointment at Tel Aviv University. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics, as well as Vice Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. Within Harvard, Loeb serves on the President's Task Force on Diversity and Belonging and the Provost's Allston Academic Planning Committee. In 2012, TIME magazineselected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space. Click here for Loeb's commentaries on innovation and diversity.