*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

Life Beyond the Earth


We do not know whether life exists beyond the Earth. However, the question can be addressed incisively by modern science. In this course we will discuss the various factors responsible for the existence and evolution of life on Earth, how this knowledge defines some surprisingly stringent conditions for the evolution and existence of life on other worlds, how well these requirements match conditions on the currently-known sample of 2,500 extrasolar planets. We will also discuss the nature of intelligence, the assumptions that underlie attempts to detect extraterrestrial civilizations in the galaxy, and the current status of these searches. Finally, we will discuss the limits physics places on interstellar travel, and some interesting ideas that have been proposed for robotic interstellar missions. Note: This course does not meet on Tuesday, November 20.

Instructor Bio:

A physicist by training, Bob Dickman has been a radio astronomer since beginning his doctoral research on the physics of interstellar molecular clouds. Over the years he has also taught astronomy courses at UMass, Wesleyan University and UVa.  Currently a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Bob previously served as NRAO's Director of New Mexico Operations and as Director of its Central Development Lab.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
B202 Robert Dickman Nov 13, 27, Dec 4, 11 Tu 10:00-11:30 a.m. Country Inn and Suites WL

Return to Courses