A new Cambridge University interdisciplinary research programme will investigate life in the universe: The Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe. This is an important research area from an EA perspective, for example having implications for human prospects of long-term survival (see Great Filter).
More information below and link here for a panel discussion.
There has never been a better time to ask: How did life emerge on Earth? Is the Universe full of life? What is the nature of life?
The year 2021 offered defining moments for understanding the origins of life and its distribution in the Universe. The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is now collecting samples that offer the best chances of preserving traces of early life. The James Webb Space Telescope has begun its mission to map the atmospheres of potentially habitable exoplanets. In parallel, a wave of discoveries has uncovered new pathways that could have generated the building blocks of life on Earth from simple molecules in ancient environments.
Professor Andy Parker, Head of the Department of Physics, will host a panel discussion centred around one key question: is there life in the Universe? Join speakers: Professor Nikku Madhusudhan, Professor of Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Science; Dr Emily Mitchell, NERC Independent Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology; and Professor Nicholas Tosca, Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology, as they consider this significant inquiry.
The panel will discuss life in the Universe in the context of a new Cambridge interdisciplinary research programme, The Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe. This programme will harness simultaneous breakthroughs in astrophysics, planetology, organic chemistry, and biology to develop a deeper understanding of life, its emergence, and its distribution in the Universe.