Les grandes conférences de l’iREx – Dr Victoria Meadows

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The Institute for research on exoplanets invite you to the public lecture:

NASA’s Search for Life Beyond the Solar System (en anglais)

by Victoria Meadows, Professor of Astronomy and the Director of the Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington in Seattle

Wednesday, September 13, 7:30PM at Université de Montréal, Pavillon Jean-Brillant, room B-2325.

The Grandes Conférences de l’iREx are aimed at anyone interested by astronomy and exoplanets, and require no prior scientific background. 

To reserve your place (free), go to Eventbrite

Link to the Facebook event

Résumé

One of the grandest and most enduring questions in human history has been whether we are alone in the Universe. While previous generations could only speculate about the possibility of life around other stars, in the coming decades NASA will develop and deploy the telescopes required to begin exploring the environments of distant worlds. But getting these challenging observations alone is not enough – we also need an improved understanding of what we should be looking for, and research that will allow us to interpret what we observe. In this talk Prof. Meadows will give an overview of current and upcoming NASA missions that will study potentially habitable planets and search for signs of life. She will also highlight work being done by the NASA Astrobiology Institute‘s Virtual Planetary Laboratory to guide this search – including understanding the factors that lead to a planet being able to support life, and how we might recognize signs of alien life on a distant world.

Biography

Dr. Meadows is a Professor of Astronomy and the Director of the Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. Since 2001 she has been the Principal Investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory Lead Team. She has worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech as a Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera -2 Science Team Member, and as the Solar System Observations scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope. Dr. Meadows’ primary research interests include planetary astronomy – especially of the Earth and Venus – and using modeling and observations to determine how to recognize whether a distant extrasolar planet is able to harbor life. Her Virtual Planetary Laboratory team develops innovative computer models that can be used to understand the how terrestrial planets form and evolve, and how their interactions with their parent star and other planets affect whether or not they are able to support life. These models are being used to understand how we will interpret future telescopic measurements of extrasolar planets as we search for life beyond the Solar System.

To get there

The Pavillon Jean-Brillant de l’Université de Montréal is at 3200 Jean-Brillant. It is easily accessible by subway, through Côte-des-Neiges metro station on the blue line. Walk on Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges towards the Oratoire Saint-Joseph and turn left on Jean-Brillant street. The building will be less than 5 minutes away, on your right. Directions to the room will then be clearly visible.