UC Connect public talk - The Quest for Alien Worlds and Life Beyond Earth

Presenter: Professor Ray Jayawardhana
  • Date: Tuesday, 21 March 2023 to Tuesday, 21 March 2023
  • Time: 07:00PM to 08:00PM
  • Location: Central Lecture Theatres, University of Canterbury, Ilam
  • Ticket: Free

This month, Professor Ray Jayawardhana, Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, Hans A. Bethe Professor and Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University and current University of Canterbury Erskine Fellow, will discuss The Quest for Alien Worlds and Life Beyond Earth, in a free and livestreamed public lecture, on Tuesday evening, 21 March, at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

“Three decades ago, we knew of only one planetary system for sure – our own. Since then, astronomers have found thousands of planets circling other stars, revealing a remarkable diversity of worlds, from hot Jupiters in star-hugging orbits to near-twins of the Earth that could harbour liquid water,” Professor Jayawardhana says.

“These discoveries have surprised us and challenged our preconceptions many times over. We are using the biggest telescopes on the ground and in space, including the James Webb Space Telescope, to do ‘remote sensing’ of these alien worlds, to learn about their characteristics and assess prospects for life elsewhere. What’s at stake is a true measure of our own place in the cosmos.”

About the speaker
Professor Ray Jayawardhana is a professor of astronomy and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. A prolific researcher, he investigates the diversity and origins of planets and the prospects for life in the universe, using the world’s largest telescopes. His discoveries have garnered widespread attention and numerous accolades. Ray is also an award-winning writer and author of popular books. An avid traveller, he has visited more than 55 countries, all seven continents, and the Arctic. (More about this work: http://rayjay.net/)

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