RAS Public Lecture: Hues of Habitability – characterising pale blue dots around other stars

November Public Lecture
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Hues of Habitability – characterising pale blue dots around other stars 

 Dr Sarah Rugheimer


Booking required. Free tickets are available via Eventbrite - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-evening-public-lecture-tickets-50853747929

This planet we call home is teeming with life from the very depths of the ocean where no light penetrates, to small brine layers between ice crystals and near-boiling iridescent waters of Yellowstone. As we discover the vast diversity of extremophile life on Earth, our minds can only begin to imagine the possibilities for life to exist on other planets in the Universe. In this talk I will present how we are going to characterize terrestrial planet atmospheres orbiting other stars.

Atmospheric modeling allows us to examine two key areas of interest in origins research – the remote detection of life on an exoplanet and the atmospheric conditions of early Earth that gave rise to the origin of life. Theoretical modeling of atmospheres is essential in determining the size, resolution, and observing time required for a telescope to detect signs of life, or biosignatures, around an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star.

Dr. Sarah Rugheimer is the first Caroline Herschel Prize Lecture recipient, sponsored by the William Herschel Society. Sarah is an astrophysicist working on how to detect life on an exoplanet by looking for atmospheric biosignatures. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Calgary, and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard in Astrophysics. She moved to the UK in 2015 to take the Simons Origins of Life Research Fellowship to St. Andres and is now at Oxford University with a Glasstone Research Fellowship and Hugh Price Fellowship.

Sarah is an advocate for Women in STEM, hosting a resource page as well as mentoring students and co-hosting a podcast called “Self-care with Drs. Sarah” aimed at junior scientists navigating academia. She is also involved with outreach and has been on NPR and BBC discussing her work on modeling the atmosphere and climate of extrasolar planets. Her other passions include dance and high-altitude mountaineering.

Image Credit: David A. Aguilar / Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Doors open at 17.30 pm. Please be aware that there is no admittance once the lecture begins at 6 pm, as tickets will be reallocated to those queuing for no-shows. Thank you.