In this talk, astrobiologist Charles Lineweaver discusses the history of life on Earth and what we can deduce from our understanding of the universe about the existence and history of life elsewhere. He recounts the ongoing discovery of large numbers of exoplanets -- planets orbiting other stars -- and what we can learn from the varieties of planets that are being found. He challenges us to think about what parts in the development of intelligent life on Earth would necessarily happen elsewhere and what parts might be unique to our planet.
Charles Lineweaver is an honorary associate professor at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Research School of Earth Science. His research areas include exoplanetology (the statistical analysis of exoplanets and their habitability), cosmobiology (using our new knowledge of cosmology to constrain life in the Universe) and the study of cancer. He recently completed an online video course at: arewealone.us. Dr. Lineweaver earned a BA in history from the State University of New York at Binghamton, an MA in English from Brown University, a BS is physics from Ludwig Maximillian's University in Munich, and a PhD in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994.