The Search for Life on Other Worlds: Separating the Hype from the Hope

San Diego Skeptic Society
San Diego Skeptic Society
Public group

Every 4th Sunday of the month

Location image of event venue


As the methods and technology astronomers use to search for evidence of life on other planets advances, there is increasing tension between the optimism of this search and the reality of what, if anything, would constitute an unambiguous detection of life. In this talk, I will describe the techniques astronomers are now using and will use in the near future to search for life on other worlds, their limitations and false positives, what assumptions these searches are based on, where the “hype” comes from, and why even skeptical scientists continue to be optimistic that Earth is not the only biosphere.

About Our Speaker:
Adam Burgasser is a Professor of Physics at UC San Diego, and an observational astrophysicist investigating the lowest mass stars, coldest brown dwarfs, and exoplanets. He is best known for defining the T spectral class of brown dwarfs, various discoveries of cool and unusual stars, and was one of the co-discoverers of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system. He has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed on these topics, as well as studies in physics education research and equity in the physical sciences. He has been Fulbright Fellow at the University of Exeter, and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards at UCSD. He is also an avid surfer, frequent traveler, occasional actor, and his family’s genealogical historian.

The monthly lecture series sponsored by SD Skeptic Society features a presentation on a scientific or skeptical topic.

The suggested donation for lecture attendance is $5. Your tax-deductible donations help support the San Diego Skeptic Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to critical and scientific thinking. If you're a frequent attendee, see the welcome desk for joining the membership.

About SD Skeptics: The San Diego Skeptic Society (formerly SDARI) is a community resource that hosts lectures on various topics (science, history, etc) and sponsors prizes in the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair every spring.

Lectures start promptly at 7pm.

Location: The entrance to Joyce Beers Community Center is located in the HUB Marketplace, next to the Aladdin restaurant on Vermont Street. The address 3900 Vermont Street should be the most accurate for GPS directions.

Parking: There is free parking available in the underground lot across the street (behind and under Ralphs / Trader Joes). Parking in the above ground lot is limited to 2 hours and cars have been ticketed / towed for infractions.