Astrophysicist Dr Sarah Rugheimer, Glasstone Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Hugh Price Fellow at Jesus College, has written and recorded a new lecture series that explores the possibilities of searching for life on other planets.
‘Searching for Extraterrestrial Life’ is a ten-part Teaching Company series, produced in partnership with Amazon’s Audible Originals, and is now available on the popular listening platform. For decades, books, movies, television shows, and conspiracy theories have speculated about the existence of life on other planets. But can we address this question scientifically? Sarah reveals what we know about detecting life on other planets, and gives a first-hand insight into how scientists search for life on exoplanets, and the search for life in our own Solar System on Mars, Venus, Europa, and Titan. The end of the course looks at the question more philosophically by exploring possible explanations for the Fermi Paradox – if intelligent life is so common, where is everyone? She also addresses how scientifically we can start to put constraints on key parameters to estimate how common life is in the Cosmos.
Sarah, whose research focuses on the atmospheric composition of exoplanets and star-planet interaction, wrote the series in early 2020 and recorded it remotely with help from Audible’s sound engineers and equipment during the first UK lockdown. She says, “Recording a series during the pandemic was an adventure to be sure. But these questions surrounding ‘Are We Alone in the Universe’ are timeless and universal. I hope my course allows people to take a wide view of humans and planet Earth over long timescales and interstellar distances during our intensely hyper-focused period in our history of the COVID pandemic.”
Searching for Extraterrestrial Life is available on Audible now.