Who Else is Out There? Intelligent Life in the Universe

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Duration 00:55:34

Columbia University

David Helfand has been a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University for 47 years, where he served as chair of the Department for two decades. He is also the former President of the American Astronomical Society and of Quest University Canada, and currently serves as Chair of the American Institute of Physics. Professor Helfand has received the Columbia Presidential Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He is the author of A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age and, recently The Universal Timekeepers: Reconstructing History Atom by Atom.


Is There Intelligent Life In The Universe?

Twenty years ago, our solar system was the only one we knew existed — eight planets circling a rather ordinary star. Today we know there are billions of solar systems in our Galaxy alone, and the planetary zoo is full of denizens too weird to have imagined. Twenty years ago, life on Earth is the only kind we knew existed; that’s still true today.

Yet a few of the new planets we have discovered appear to be similar in size and temperature to Earth. Do they harbor life? How can we tell? What is the likelihood that we are not alone? Professor Helfand will describe how our knowledge of other worlds has expanded so rapidly and how we can calculate the odds of finding intelligence beyond Earth.


Learn More About Intelligent Life In The Universe

Learn more about intelligent life in the universe and other deep discussions by checking out other great videos at OneDayU, including  ‘The Irish In The American Revolution, ‘Famous Art Thefts& ‘The Life Of Teddy Roosevelt’ all on-demand now.



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Fantastic and fascinating!

Thank you, Dr. Helfand, for such a fascinating and beautifully presented lecture on one of the most enduring, profound questions there are. Your ability to present complex concepts and data in a digestible manner is striking. We’ll never look at the sky the same way again!

1 year ago
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