Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

January 29, 2019
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Hughes Auditorium, Robert H. Lurie Building, Northwestern University Chicago Campus
303 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL, USA

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What can we learn from alien worlds? We humans, with our “project of civilization,” are a kind of cosmic teenager.  We have power over ourselves and the planet, but no model to follow. In his talk, Dr. Adam Frank will show how our fate can best be understood in light of the stars. Thanks to the revolutionary field of astrobiology, we have discovered that we are just one of ten billion trillion habitable planets in the Universe. Unless the laws of the universe are deeply biased against life and intelligence, it’s highly improbable that we are the first project of civilization in cosmic history. What then can we learn from the others who have almost certainly existed?

For centuries, human beings have looked to the night sky and wondered what—and who—is really out there.  Adam will show how the search for alien life gives us an unexpected—and much needed—change in how we talk about pressing concerns here on Earth. Using the latest research on other worlds and the possibilities for other civilizations, the talk reveals what the new science of “astrobiology” can tell us about climate change and our future on Earth.

Unpacking the exploration of our solar system and beyond, Adam will show how we have already learned universal “laws of planets.” With this new view, we can tell how life (including the intelligent kind) and its host worlds can evolve together. From microbes generating Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere to the discovery of Venus’s runaway greenhouse effect, we can now lay out the contours of what happened here and what may happen elsewhere. With this “10,000 light-year” view, we gain a new story of our future on a changing Earth. It’s a narrative rich with both hope and caution.

Event Details

Arrive at 5:30 pm to enjoy food and drinks before the program (free with ticket purchase). The program runs 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm. This program is open to the public.

Students with valid ID are FREE. Please email us (info@c2st.org) to register for your complimentary ticket.

Adam Frank’s books will be available for sale. There will be a book signing opportunity after the talk.

Parking and Transportation:

Discounted parking is available to attendees at the 202 E Huron parking garage. Ask at the C2ST registration table, and you can get a ticket to exit the garage at a discounted rate.

303 E. Superior St. is easily accessible using the Red Line or the 3, 66, 120, 121, and 157 buses (as well as others a few blocks away). For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Notice: As a guest of Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST), you agree to be photographed, videotaped, or filmed and grant C2ST permission to put the finished footage/photography to any uses that it may deem proper including marketing, advertising (print, radio, and television) and PR-related activities.