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Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

Richard Pogge

24
Followers
83
Plays
Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

Richard Pogge

24
Followers
83
Plays
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About Us

Astronomy 141, Life in the Universe, is a one-quarter introduction toAstrobiology for non-science majors taught at The Ohio State University.This podcast presents audio recordings of Professor Richard Pogge'slectures from his Autumn Quarter 2009 class. All of the lectures were recorded live in 1005 Smith Laboratory on the OSU Main Campus in Columbus, Ohio.

Latest Episodes

Lecture 46: This View of Life (Course Finale)

Course finale and summary. We look back over where we've been the last eleven weeks, and bring together all of the main themes of this course on Life in the Universe. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 4 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

40 MIN2009 DEC 4
Comments
Lecture 46: This View of Life (Course Finale)

Lecture 45: The Future of Life in the Universe

How will life, the Universe, and everything end? This lecture looks at the evolution of our expanding Universe to project the prospects for life into the distant cosmological future. Recent observations show that we live in an infinite, accelerating universe. I will trace the evolution of the universe from the current age of stars into the future. The final state of the Universe will be cold, dark, and disordered, and ultimately inhospitable to life as we understand it or perhaps can imagine it. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 3 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

44 MIN2009 DEC 3
Comments
Lecture 45: The Future of Life in the Universe

Lecture 44: The Future of Life in the Solar System

What is the future of life on Earth and in our Solar System? The Sun is the source of energy for life on the Earth, but it will not shine forever. This lecture looks at the impact of the various stages of the evolution of the Sun on the habitability of the Solar System, with particular emphasis on the continued habitability of the Earth. I will refer to state-of-the-art computer models of the Sun to get is properties at various stages in its past and future life. NOTE: Due to a recorder malfunction this lecture was re-recorded later in the day on 2009 Dec 2, rather than being live from the class room in Smith Laboratory. As such, it is about 10 minutes longer than usual (my pacing is off when not in front of class).

55 MIN2009 DEC 2
Comments
Lecture 44: The Future of Life in the Solar System

Lecture 43: Extraterrestrial Life

What does extraterrestrial life look like? This lecture explores current thinking about what extraterrestrial life might be like not by guessing their appearances, but instead applying lessons learned from our growing understanding of how evolution and biochemistry work on Earth. I will discuss Universal versus Parochial characteristics, Convergent Evolution, Radical Diversity, and other ideas from evolutionary biology that might inform how life might emerge on other worlds. We will then look at alternatives to carbon biochemistry, specifically the possibility of silicon-based life, and alternatives to liquid water as a solvent medium for biochemistry, specifically the possible role of Ammonia. Finally I will give one example of a highly speculative idea about life without chemistry. In the end, the outcome of such studies may not be to tell us much about extraterrestrials as to help focus questions on how we ourselves arose. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 1 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory...

45 MIN2009 DEC 1
Comments
Lecture 43: Extraterrestrial Life

Lecture 42: The Fermi Paradox

So, Where is Everybody? Interstellar colonization, in principle, is an exponential growth process that would fill the galaxy in a few million years even with a very modest star flight capability. This is a small fraction of the lifetime of the Milky Way Galaxy, so the Galaxy should be teaming with life. But, we so far have no compelling evidence of extraterrestrial visitations, alien artifacts, or any other evidences that the Galaxy is populated. Physicist and Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi's apparent paradox and some of the proposed resolutions are the topic of this lecture. I will review the Fermi Paradox and describe the most common possible resolutions. The Fermi Paradox is useful in helping to frame the question of extraterrestrial life, even if we so far have no answers. At the end I only touch on the Rare Earth Hypothesis, but this is a very nuanced question which requires a whole other lecture to explore that I have not had time to fully prepare for during this busy quarter. Re...

44 MIN2009 NOV 30
Comments
Lecture 42: The Fermi Paradox

Lecture 41: Interstellar Travel and Colonization

If we ever detect life elsewhere, how will we go visit? This lecture considers the challenges of interstellar travel and colonization. The problem is one of basic physics (the enormous energy requirements of star flight) coupled with the vast, irreducible distances between the stars. I will describe various starship concepts that use reasonable extrapolations of current technologies (nuclear propulsion and solar sails), ignoring for our discussions science-fiction exotica like faster-than-light drives and wormholes. My interest is in the scientific aspects of the problem, not an exploration of speculative fiction. I then turn to interstellar colonization, and how even a relatively modest star-flight capability might allow a determined civilization to colonize the entire galaxy very rapidly. This has implications for how we might interpret the results of Drake Equation type arguments about the frequency of intelligent life in the Galaxy, and leads to the Fermi Paradox that will be th...

45 MIN2009 NOV 25
Comments
Lecture 41: Interstellar Travel and Colonization

Lecture 40: SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Is anybody out there? This lecture reviews the ideas behind SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, an effort to find other intelligent communicating civilizations by tuning in on their radio or other electromagnetic communications. I will discuss the basic approaches being taken by various SETI efforts, and what we expect to find. In addition to listening, we have also been broadcasting, intentionally or otherwise, messages into space, and we have sent physical artifacts with descriptions of our home on robotic spacecraft headed out of our solar system into interstellar space. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 24 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

46 MIN2009 NOV 24
Comments
Lecture 40: SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Lecture 39: The Drake Equation

How many intelligent, communicating civilizations live in our Galaxy? We have no idea. One way to approach the question and come up with quasi-quantitative estimates is the Drake Equation, first introduced by radio astronomy Frank Drake in the 1960s. I will use the Drake equation as an illustration of the issues related to the question of extraterrestrial intelligence, and to set the stage for future lectures on the likelihood of finding other intelligences in our Universe. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 23 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

45 MIN2009 NOV 23
Comments
Lecture 39: The Drake Equation

Lecture 38: The Pale Blue Dot - Seeking Other Earths

Are there other Earths out there? Do they have life on them? This lecture looks at the search for ExoEarths - Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their parent stars, and what we might learn from measuring them. The ultimate goal of all planet searches is to find other Earth's, what the late Carl Sagan so poetically called the "pale blue dot" as seen from the depths of space. This lecture discusses what we might learn about such planets from studies of our own Earth, spectroscopic biomarkers that might reveal life, and variability studies that might give us insight into surface features (continents and oceans) and weather (clouds and even climate). Recorded live on 2009 Nov 19 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

44 MIN2009 NOV 19
Comments
Lecture 38: The Pale Blue Dot - Seeking Other Earths

Lecture 37: Strange New Worlds

What are the properties of the 400+ exoplanets we have discovered so far? This lecture reviews the properties of exoplanets, and finds a couple of surprises: Jupiter-mass planets orbiting close to their parent stars, and Jupiter-mass planets in very elliptical orbits. Both seem to require some mechanism for migration: strong gravitational interactions with either the protoplanetary disk or other giant planets to cause the planets to move inward from their birth places beyond the "Ice Line". We will then briefly discuss why we are seeing systems very different from our own, mostly we think a selection effect due to our search methods to date. Microlensing, however, is more sensitive to systems like ours, and is starting to find them. Earths, however, remain elusive so far, but the hunt is on. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 18 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

46 MIN2009 NOV 18
Comments
Lecture 37: Strange New Worlds

Latest Episodes

Lecture 46: This View of Life (Course Finale)

Course finale and summary. We look back over where we've been the last eleven weeks, and bring together all of the main themes of this course on Life in the Universe. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 4 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

40 MIN2009 DEC 4
Comments
Lecture 46: This View of Life (Course Finale)

Lecture 45: The Future of Life in the Universe

How will life, the Universe, and everything end? This lecture looks at the evolution of our expanding Universe to project the prospects for life into the distant cosmological future. Recent observations show that we live in an infinite, accelerating universe. I will trace the evolution of the universe from the current age of stars into the future. The final state of the Universe will be cold, dark, and disordered, and ultimately inhospitable to life as we understand it or perhaps can imagine it. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 3 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

44 MIN2009 DEC 3
Comments
Lecture 45: The Future of Life in the Universe

Lecture 44: The Future of Life in the Solar System

What is the future of life on Earth and in our Solar System? The Sun is the source of energy for life on the Earth, but it will not shine forever. This lecture looks at the impact of the various stages of the evolution of the Sun on the habitability of the Solar System, with particular emphasis on the continued habitability of the Earth. I will refer to state-of-the-art computer models of the Sun to get is properties at various stages in its past and future life. NOTE: Due to a recorder malfunction this lecture was re-recorded later in the day on 2009 Dec 2, rather than being live from the class room in Smith Laboratory. As such, it is about 10 minutes longer than usual (my pacing is off when not in front of class).

55 MIN2009 DEC 2
Comments
Lecture 44: The Future of Life in the Solar System

Lecture 43: Extraterrestrial Life

What does extraterrestrial life look like? This lecture explores current thinking about what extraterrestrial life might be like not by guessing their appearances, but instead applying lessons learned from our growing understanding of how evolution and biochemistry work on Earth. I will discuss Universal versus Parochial characteristics, Convergent Evolution, Radical Diversity, and other ideas from evolutionary biology that might inform how life might emerge on other worlds. We will then look at alternatives to carbon biochemistry, specifically the possibility of silicon-based life, and alternatives to liquid water as a solvent medium for biochemistry, specifically the possible role of Ammonia. Finally I will give one example of a highly speculative idea about life without chemistry. In the end, the outcome of such studies may not be to tell us much about extraterrestrials as to help focus questions on how we ourselves arose. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 1 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory...

45 MIN2009 DEC 1
Comments
Lecture 43: Extraterrestrial Life

Lecture 42: The Fermi Paradox

So, Where is Everybody? Interstellar colonization, in principle, is an exponential growth process that would fill the galaxy in a few million years even with a very modest star flight capability. This is a small fraction of the lifetime of the Milky Way Galaxy, so the Galaxy should be teaming with life. But, we so far have no compelling evidence of extraterrestrial visitations, alien artifacts, or any other evidences that the Galaxy is populated. Physicist and Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi's apparent paradox and some of the proposed resolutions are the topic of this lecture. I will review the Fermi Paradox and describe the most common possible resolutions. The Fermi Paradox is useful in helping to frame the question of extraterrestrial life, even if we so far have no answers. At the end I only touch on the Rare Earth Hypothesis, but this is a very nuanced question which requires a whole other lecture to explore that I have not had time to fully prepare for during this busy quarter. Re...

44 MIN2009 NOV 30
Comments
Lecture 42: The Fermi Paradox

Lecture 41: Interstellar Travel and Colonization

If we ever detect life elsewhere, how will we go visit? This lecture considers the challenges of interstellar travel and colonization. The problem is one of basic physics (the enormous energy requirements of star flight) coupled with the vast, irreducible distances between the stars. I will describe various starship concepts that use reasonable extrapolations of current technologies (nuclear propulsion and solar sails), ignoring for our discussions science-fiction exotica like faster-than-light drives and wormholes. My interest is in the scientific aspects of the problem, not an exploration of speculative fiction. I then turn to interstellar colonization, and how even a relatively modest star-flight capability might allow a determined civilization to colonize the entire galaxy very rapidly. This has implications for how we might interpret the results of Drake Equation type arguments about the frequency of intelligent life in the Galaxy, and leads to the Fermi Paradox that will be th...

45 MIN2009 NOV 25
Comments
Lecture 41: Interstellar Travel and Colonization

Lecture 40: SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Is anybody out there? This lecture reviews the ideas behind SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, an effort to find other intelligent communicating civilizations by tuning in on their radio or other electromagnetic communications. I will discuss the basic approaches being taken by various SETI efforts, and what we expect to find. In addition to listening, we have also been broadcasting, intentionally or otherwise, messages into space, and we have sent physical artifacts with descriptions of our home on robotic spacecraft headed out of our solar system into interstellar space. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 24 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

46 MIN2009 NOV 24
Comments
Lecture 40: SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

Lecture 39: The Drake Equation

How many intelligent, communicating civilizations live in our Galaxy? We have no idea. One way to approach the question and come up with quasi-quantitative estimates is the Drake Equation, first introduced by radio astronomy Frank Drake in the 1960s. I will use the Drake equation as an illustration of the issues related to the question of extraterrestrial intelligence, and to set the stage for future lectures on the likelihood of finding other intelligences in our Universe. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 23 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

45 MIN2009 NOV 23
Comments
Lecture 39: The Drake Equation

Lecture 38: The Pale Blue Dot - Seeking Other Earths

Are there other Earths out there? Do they have life on them? This lecture looks at the search for ExoEarths - Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their parent stars, and what we might learn from measuring them. The ultimate goal of all planet searches is to find other Earth's, what the late Carl Sagan so poetically called the "pale blue dot" as seen from the depths of space. This lecture discusses what we might learn about such planets from studies of our own Earth, spectroscopic biomarkers that might reveal life, and variability studies that might give us insight into surface features (continents and oceans) and weather (clouds and even climate). Recorded live on 2009 Nov 19 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

44 MIN2009 NOV 19
Comments
Lecture 38: The Pale Blue Dot - Seeking Other Earths

Lecture 37: Strange New Worlds

What are the properties of the 400+ exoplanets we have discovered so far? This lecture reviews the properties of exoplanets, and finds a couple of surprises: Jupiter-mass planets orbiting close to their parent stars, and Jupiter-mass planets in very elliptical orbits. Both seem to require some mechanism for migration: strong gravitational interactions with either the protoplanetary disk or other giant planets to cause the planets to move inward from their birth places beyond the "Ice Line". We will then briefly discuss why we are seeing systems very different from our own, mostly we think a selection effect due to our search methods to date. Microlensing, however, is more sensitive to systems like ours, and is starting to find them. Earths, however, remain elusive so far, but the hunt is on. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 18 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

46 MIN2009 NOV 18
Comments
Lecture 37: Strange New Worlds
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