Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Are You Out There?
Dr. Daniel Kainer, Director of the Biotechnology Institute of LSC-Montgomery opened our minds to the possibility of life outside our planet and the ways in which great thinkers have approached that topic. Are we alone in the universe? This question has been asked throughout history and Daniel led us through the timeline of the human concept of the universe. We've gone from the geocentric theory where it was believed that Earth was the center of the universe, to the heliocentric theory, which placed our sun at the center, to everything we are currently learning about how our tiny planet fits into the universe. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary approach that asks questions about the existence of life in the universe. The Fermi paradox questions the existence of other life by asking, if there is intelligent life in the universe, why haven't we had any contact with it (that we know of)? Of course, this is a very simplified description of the contradiction. Daniel also introduced us to the Drake Equation as a way of estimating the number of planets upon which intelligent life could actually exist, and of those, how many develop a way to communicate with other life. Thank you to Daniel for expanding our horizons in the most astronomical way!
You can find the video that Daniel mentioned, Cosmography of the Local Universe, here.
Our group had an interesting discussion about signs of extraterrestrial life at the beginning of the program, and Mick showed us a web site he had come across that details UFO sightings. If you'd like to check it out, it's at fold3.com under Non-military records: Project Blue Book - UFO Investigations.