Hunting for Habitable Planets: NASA's Kepler Science Team Member to Deliver Perimeter Institute Public Lecture on January 26


For thousands of years people have wondered, "Are we alone?" Out of the 500 planets so far known to orbit nearby stars, about 100 transit their host stars, that is, the planet goes in front of its star as seen from Earth.

WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 6 - For thousands of years people have wondered, "Are we alone?" Out of the 500 planets so far known to orbit nearby stars, about 100 transit their host stars, that is, the planet goes in front of its star as seen from Earth. The transiting planets are "goldmines" for astronomers, because the planetary sizes, masses, and atmospheres can be routinely measured. NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is further revolutionizing transiting exoplanet studies with its unprecedented photometric precision.  On Wednesday, January 26, as part of Perimeter Institute's Public Lecture Series presented by Sun Life Financial, Kepler Science Team member Dr. Sara Seager will share her unique insights into recent Kepler announcements, and detail pioneering technology developments that will fuel the search for life on other worlds. Professor Seager has been a pioneer in the vast and unknown world of exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the sun. Her ground-breaking research ranges from the detection of exoplanet atmospheres, to innovative theories about life on other worlds, to development of novel nanosatellite space telescopes. Now, like an astronomical Indiana Jones, she's on a quest after the field's Holy Grail - the discovery of a true Earth twin.  Dr. Seager earned her PhD from Harvard University and is now the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Planetary Science and a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prof. Seager's lecture, entitled "Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds" will be held Wednesday, January 26 at 7:00 pm in Waterloo, Ontario.  Tickets will be available starting Monday, January 10th, 2011. Further details can be found at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.

About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 
 

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