Life in the Universe: The Science of Astrobiology

Conversation Date: 
Monday, August 22, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM PT (6:00 PM - 7:30 PM ET)

Is life common in the Universe, or rare? Humans have pondered this question for millennia. Today we are privileged to be able to bring the tools of modern science to answer questions that were once the province of philosophers and theologians. In this presentation, Dr. Carl Pilcher, former Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, will help us study the four billion-year evolution of life and our planet to consider how habitable environments and life itself might arise elsewhere in the Universe. Join us and explore these fascinating questions as we paint a picture of life as a cosmic phenomenon.  

Speakers:  
Dr. Carl Pilcher  Dr. Carl Pilcher served as the Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, from 2006 until his retirement in January, 2013. He served again as part-time Interim Director from August 2014 to May 2016, helping to select a new permanent Director. Prior to his terms as NAI Director, he served for 18 years at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC in numerous capacities, including Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Science Director for Solar System Exploration. He began his career at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii, studying planets and moons in the outer solar system. He has B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and MIT, respectively, and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.

Daniella Scalice  Since 2000, Daniella Scalice has been the Education, Outreach, and Communication Lead for the NASA Astrobiology Institute and more recently, the NASA Astrobiology Program. As such she supports astrobiologists to engage in outreach, oversees curriculum development, provides content to media and educational outlets, and delivers programs to educators and students all over the world. In 2005, Daniella developed the NASA and the Navajo Nation project, an ongoing, NASA-funded initiative wherein cultural and scientific knowledge about our origins are brought together into new classroom materials for Navajo teachers and summer field camps for Navajo students. She believes these two ways of knowing the world have more in common than not, but leaves the making of connections between the two up to the learner. Daniella holds a BS in Molecular Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and pursued an MA in Film at Humboldt State University.

Useful Links:

http://astrobiology.nasa.gov
http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/research/astrobiology-at-nasa/astrobiology-strategy/
http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/classroom-materials/
http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/resources/graphic-histories/

This special resource has been made available to all viewers.  Please note that (free) membership is required for full access to the Museum Alliance site; please visit Join Our Community to learn more.  

Recording Files:
Audio File MP3 (17.23 MB)
Transcript File:
Transcript PDF (274 KB)
Presentation File:
Additional Resources:

  • (20 KB)