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August 20 @ 1:00 pm EDT - 3:30 pm EDT

1 meeting
Genre: Writers Research 
Semester:
  • Summer 2022
Time of Day:
Meeting Location:
  • In-Person
Room: Classroom 5

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Cost: $ 45.00
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Intelligent Life in the Galaxy

Many astronomers would agree that life is probably common throughout the galaxy—but what does this say about the prospects for intelligent life? With the recent flood of new planetary discoveries, it now seems likely that most stars have planetary systems, with a greater diversity of planet types than we had ever imagined possible. But with this great diversity comes the realization that planets similar to Earth may still be comparatively rare, and civilizations rarer still—which raises the prospect of a lonely galaxy. In this Research for Writers seminar, we will survey new planetary discoveries in our region of space, focusing on Earth-like and Super-Earth planets which may support biospheres similar to our own. We will consider what we know about intelligence, self-awareness and tool-use among both vertebrates and invertebrates, and we will compare this with the fossil record to see whether other intelligent species may have plausibly arisen in Earth’s deep geological past. With this in mind, we will examine the factors which might contribute to the evolution of intelligent species around other stars, and whether we can hope for a busy, talkative galaxy—or if we should resign ourselves to being the only voices in a vast expanse of interstellar space.

Please note: This class or event is in-person. Currently, you must show proof of vaccination to enter our physical center (ages 12 and older). Please read all our re-opening guidelines and important information before you visit.

Teacher: John Aguiar

Prerequisite: Open to anyone