Is there life on other planets? Learn the latest research on Feb. 3

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — "Choose Your Own Adventure: Planet Edition" — the third lecture in the free public minicourse titled "Is There Life on Other Planets?" — will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 in 100 Thomas Building on the University Park campus.

Sarah Ballard, a Torres Fellow, L'Oreal Fellow, and Postdoctoral Scholar in Exoplanetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will describe the latest research about planets beyond our own solar system that are the most likely to have the right conditions for supporting life. Learn about the key patterns emerging from studies of hundreds-to-thousands of these "exoplanets," and how we can leverage this knowledge to have the best chance of detecting life on planets in the Milky Way galaxy that are outside our own solar system.

This series of six lectures is the 2018 edition of the annual Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science. The lectures are given from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on six consecutive Saturdays, in 100 Thomas Building on the University Park campus.

Future lectures during the last three weeks of the series are:

  • "The Birth of Habitable Planets" by Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, on Feb. 10;
  • "What Makes a Planet Habitable?" by James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, on Feb. 17; and
  • "How to Hunt for Signs of Alien Life" by Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, on Feb. 24.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free public minicourse organized by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call 814-863-4682 or e-mail in advance of your participation or visit. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures, is online at

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Last Updated June 20, 2018