The Star Spot

Feature Guest: Lynn Rothschild

Are we alone in the universe? Think about it. Whatever the answer, it is one of the most profound and enduring questions humans have ever asked. The fact that we are on the cusp of being able to answer it is incredible. But the challenge is still immense, for we’re not even sure exactly how to define life.

And yet there’s no one better equipped to tackle this mystery then an astrobiologist who is presenting working to recreate life in the lab. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by senior NASA astrobiology Professor Lynn Rothschild who will update us on our search for life in space and our new efforts to build synthetic biology here on Earth.

Today’s episode of The Star Spot is the second in a three part series featuring interviews with the keynote speakers at the 13th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontier’s symposium, this year on the topic Astronomyths: Science or Fiction?, looking at cosmology and alien life, hosted at the University of Toronto this past January. In our next episode we will speak with Brian Trent, award-winning science fiction author and futurist.

The Star Spot Hits the Airwaves!

Coming soon, your favourite astronomy program will be travelling through space… well through the airwaves at least. The Star Spot, broadcast on CJRU, The Scope at Ryerson, will be on the air at 1280AM on the radio dial starting in April. You’ll be able to catch the latest episode every Sunday at 8PM and Tuesday at 6PM Eastern Time. Visithttp://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Anuj asks how today's stromatolites can tell us about the habitability of the ancient Earth. And Tony bring news of cutting edge technology that promises advances in the imaging of planets beyond our solar system. 

About Our Guest

Professor Lynn J. Rothschild is senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Adjunct Professor at Brown University and the University of California Santa Cruz.

Professor Rothschild is a world authority in the field of astrobiology. She founded and ran the first three Astrobiology Science Conferences, was the founding co-editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology, and is the former director of the Astrobiology Strategic Analysis and Support Office for NASA.

A well-rounded astrobiologist, Dr. Rothschild works on various models for the origin of life, studies the interaction of environment on biology, explores life in extreme environments and looks for signs of life on other worlds.

Recently she has been pioneering the new field of synthetic biology. Her award-winning iGem team is investigating the use of synthetic biology to accomplish space exploration missions, including the future human settlement of Mars.

Professor Rothschild has received the Isaac Asimov Award from the American Humanist Association and the Horace Mann Award from Brown University. She is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, The California Academy of Sciences and the Explorer’s Club.


Feature Guest: Fred Adams

Could the very first moments of our universe hold the secret to the eventual emergence of life billions of years later? And can life exist in the unimaginably far future, or does the life of the universe effectively die? From the deep past to the infinite future, today we're joined at The Star Spot by Professor Fred Adams to discuss the intersection of cosmology and life.

The Star Spot Hits the Airwaves!

Coming soon, your favourite astronomy program will be travelling through space… well through the airwaves at least. The Star Spot, broadcast on CJRU, The Scope at Ryerson, will be on the air at 1280AM on the radio dial starting in April. You’ll be able to catch the latest episode every Sunday at 8PM and Tuesday at 6PM Eastern Time. Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Thinking of moving to Mars?

Then you better attend the upcoming panel discussion, March 16th at the University of Toronto. The event will feature six amazing panelists from the fields of physics, astronomy, philosophy, commerce, environmental science, planetary protection and political science, all brought together to explore the possibilities and implications of Martian settlement. Come join me as I moderate this exciting and unique debate, and meet up with members of The Star Spot and the U of T Astronomy and Space Exploration Society

About Our Guest

Today’s episode of The Star Spot is the first in a three part series featuring interviews with the keynote speakers at the 13th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontier’s symposium, this year on the topic Astronomyths: Science or Fiction?, looking at cosmology and alien life, hosted at the University of Toronto this past January. In our subsequent two episodes we will speak with Professor Lynn Rothschild, senior scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and then Brian Trent, award-winning science fiction author and futurist.

Today I’m excited to be joined by Professor Fred Adams. Professor Adams served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining the Physics Department at the University of Michigan, where he is now Full Professor. Professor Adams has won many awards, including the the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, the Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and the Excellence in Education Award from the University of Michigan. In 2014, we was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Professor Adams has an interest in how things form, whether we’re talking the formation of stars, of planetary systems or of the universe itself. Recently he has turned his focus to how things end, with cosmological work that is considering the long term evolution and fate of our universe.   Professor Adams is an author of several astronomy books for the public, including The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity and Origins of Existence: How Life Emerged in the Universe.


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