August 13, 2022

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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From Mars to the multiverse: life, space and the cosmos with Martin Rees

24 February, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society Lord Martin Rees presents the 2016 Peter Lindsay Memorial Lecture.

Unmanned spacecraft have visited the other planets of our Solar System (and some of their moons), beaming back pictures of varied and distinctive worlds – but none propitious for life.

But prospects are far more interesting when we extend our gaze to other stars: most stars are, like our Sun, orbited by retinues of planets. Our home galaxy contains a billion planets like the Earth. Will post-humans one day visit some of them? Or are they inhabited already? If so, are the ‘aliens’ organic or ‘AI’.

Moreover, our Galaxy is one of billions visible with a large telescope, which are all the aftermath of a cosmic ‘big bang’ 13.8 billion years ago.

More astonishing still, ‘our’ big bang may not have been the only one, but merely a member of a vast (perhaps infinite) ensemble.

This illustrated talk will address these topics, and what this perspective means for the long-range future of intelligence in the cosmos. Lord Rees will emphasise that the remarkable advances in our science in recent decades are essentially owed to new engineering and technology. Armchair theory alone doesn’t get us far!


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