Life beyond the Earth:
Telescopes, exoplanets, and the search for intelligent life
with Dr. Howard Isaacson
Department of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
Thursday February 13, 2020
Doors at 6:00 PM, Talk at 7:00 PM
Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA
Join us at Cafe Leila on San Pablo Avenue for an evening of science, conversation, and community.
Prior to 1995, there were no known planets around sun-like stars beyond the solar system. Once the first discovery was announced, many others quickly followed. We now calculate that, on average, nearly every star has a planet. What if the discovery of intelligent life beyond the Earth follows a similar path? Once we find the first instance, many others will quickly follow. The Breakthrough Listen Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is the most comprehensive, far-reaching investigation for alien intelligence ever undertaken. Using the most sophisticated software available on the world’s most powerful telescopes Breakthrough Listen is attempting to make the first detection that could break open the floodgates to new discoveries.
Howard is a researcher in the Astronomy department at UC Berkeley. His work with Breakthrough Listen is focused on targets selection and observation management. The observational commitment of Breakthrough Listen, using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the Parkes Telescope in Australia and the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory, requires multi-time zone and multi- continent coordination. Observations span the optical and radio parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. After years of working on NASA’s Kepler Mission with the California Planet Search and the Keck Observatory, Howard now uses his knowledge of the observational astronomy in the search for intelligent signals from beyond the solar system.