October 8, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Free Public Talk on the Copernicus Complex
On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, at 7 pm, Dr. Caleb Scharf (of Columbia University) will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on:
The Copernicus Complex: Are We Special in the Cosmos?
in the Smithwick Theater at Foothill College, in Los Altos.
The talk is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, now in its 15th year.
Is humanity on Earth special or unexceptional? For the first time in human history, we stand poised to answer this question from a scientific perspective. Extraordinary discoveries in astronomy and biology have revealed a universe filled with endlessly diverse planetary systems, and a picture of life as a phenomenon intimately linked with the most fundamental aspects of physics. But just where these discoveries will lead us is not yet clear. We may need to find a way to see past the mediocre status that Copernicus assigned to us 500 years ago. To do that we need to come to grips with some of the latest scientific research, from the microscopic to the cosmic, which Dr. Scharf will set out in this talk.
Caleb Scharf is Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University in New York and is considered one of the leading scholars at the interface of astronomy and biology. He is the author of the widely-praised popular book Gravity’s Engines, which was the basis of the BBC/Science Channel documentary, Swallowed by a Black Hole. His textbook, Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology won the 2011 Chambliss Prize. In addition to over 100 scientific research papers, he has written non-technical articles for Scientific American, The New Yorker, Science, and other publications, and has been interviewed frequently on television.
His latest book, The Copernicus Complex, was just published by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux; he will be signing copies after the lecture.
Foothill College is just off the El Monte Road exit from Freeway 280 in Los Altos. For directions and parking information, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/transportation.php
For a campus map, see: http://www.foothill.edu/news/maps.php
The lecture is co-sponsored by:
* NASA Ames Research Center
* The Foothill College Astronomy Program
* The SETI Institute
* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
We expect large crowds, so we ask people to try to arrive a little bit early to find parking. The lecture is free, but there is a charge of $3 for parking on campus and exact change is appreciated.
Past lectures in the series can be found on YouTube at http:// www.youtube.com/SVAstronomyLectures