Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs: AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
News & Events: Public LectureIs the Universe Lively or Lonely? The Quest for Worlds and Life beyond Our Solar System
15 April 2004
Worlds around other stars were once only the subject of science fiction and scientific conjecture. Today more than a hundred are known and the rate of discovery is increasing. Although none of these "extrasolar planets” is suitable for life, we may be less than a decade away from being able to discover habitable worlds beyond our solar system. Dr. Pilcher will discuss how we can detect planets around other stars and ways we might determine if those planets are habitable or even harbor life. He will also discuss arguments about the prevalence of life in the universe, including the possibilities that life may be common and that at least some forms of life may be rare. The religious significance of this search and its potential discoveries will be discussed.
- Carl Pilcher, PhD, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology, Astronomy and Physics Division, NASA Headquarters
- Ernan McMullin, PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame