Feb. 10 free public lecture on 'The Birth of Habitable Planets'

"The Birth of Habitable Planets," a free public lecture, will be presented by Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, on Feb. 10.

The lecture is part of the annual Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, which this year has as its theme "Is There Life on Other Planets?" These lectures are given on six consecutive Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

During her lecture on Feb. 10, Dawson will give a guided tour of how emerging solar systems give birth — or not — to planets that could support life. She will describe how the early evolution of a solar system, the materials it contains, and the gravitational interactions among its newly forming planets affect their atmospheres, their water content, and other properties important for whether or not they can support life. Learn about recent theories and computer simulations of the kinds of planetary systems that are most likely to harbor planets like Earth. Hear how the recent deluge and diversity of exoplanet discoveries have updated the leading theories of how habitable planets are born.

Future lectures in the 2018 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science series are:

  • "What Makes a Planet Habitable?" by Janes Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State — plus a book-signing opportunity for his book, "How to Find a Habitable Planet," on Feb. 17.
  • "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 and supported by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for eager learners in the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. After presentation, the lectures are closed captioned and then archived online for viewing worldwide. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science and links to archived videos of previous lectures are online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Communications by phone at 814-863-4682 or by e-mail at sci-comm@psu.edu.

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Last Updated February 05, 2018