Public Lecture on Exoplanets and Alien Life Highlights SSB's Space Science Week

Public Lecture on Exoplanets and Alien Life Highlights SSB's Space Science Week

The National Research Council’s Space Studies Board (SSB) will hold a second annual Space Science Week from March 3-5.   This time the highlight of the space science confab will be a public lecture by renowned planetary scientist and physicist Sara Seager from MIT on Tuesday night, March 4, in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences building.

SSB’s Space Science Week brings together its four current standing committees to meet in parallel and plenary sessions:  Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science, Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space, Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Committee on Solar and Space Physics.   Many of the committee sessions also are open to the public, but the Seager session is meant for the general public as well as specialists.  As the SSB says, the lecture “is accessible to explorers of all ages.”  It begins at 6:30 pm EST.

The National Academy of Sciences building is located at 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. in Washington, DC.   It also is the venue for the committee meetings.  A draft schedule and online registration (highly recommended) instructions are on the SSB’s website.

The Canadian-born Seager received a BSc in math and physics from the University of Toronto and a PhD in physics from Harvard.  She then joined the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton where the late astrophysicist John Bahcall encouraged her interest in exoplanets — planets around other stars — a mostly theoretical field of study at the time.  She is now a professor of planetary science and physics at MIT focusing on theoretical models of the atmospheres and interiors of exoplanets.  The title of her March 4 lecture is “Exoplanets and the Real Search for Alien Life.”

 MIT professor of planetary science and physics Sara Seager.  Photo credit:  Space Studies Board website.

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