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New Worlds and Life in the Universe

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Sackler Lecture 2007

Science fiction presumes a universe brimming with habitable worlds and teeming with advanced life engaged in interstellar travel. Recent astrophysical observations offer the first hard evidence about these assumptions. The actual occurrence of habitable planets is emerging from observations of planetary systems. The conditions necessary for life are emerging from biological study of diverse environments on Earth. Intelligent life in the Milky Way Galaxy is detectable by myriad diagnostics already. The empirical results are interesting. New, specialized telescopes are being constructed to survey our universe for outposts and signposts of life.

This talk is part of the The Sackler Lectures series.

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