I'm flying out to New York City on Sunday to participate in the very exciting BRAINWAVE series at the Rubin Museum of Art. BRAINWAVE, which is in its third year, brings thinkers from different disciplines to sit down with scientists to wrap their (and our) minds around the things that matter. Past pairings include Composer Philip Glass and astronomer Greg Laughlin, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and physicist Brian Greene, and performance artist Laurie Anderson with astrophysicist Janna Levin. Needless to say, it's a fascinating series, and I'm honored to be involved.
I'll be talking with Professor Fred C. Adams, co-author of The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity, an iconic book in its field. He's a professor of physics at the University of Michigan, and his main field of research is astrophysics theory focusing on star formation, background radiation fields, and the early universe. We're slated to chat for just under an hour about extraterrestrial life; our event is called "Is There Life Out There?"
For a taste of what Fred and I might discuss, allow me to detail the Wikipedia tabs that are currently open in my browser, and have been for week: Extraterrestial Life, First Contact (Science Fiction), CETI, Neocatastrophism, Fermi Paradox, Noogenesis, Sentience Quotient , Wow! Signal, Life on Mars, Von Neumann Probe. If you can't make it out to the event itself, I recommend this Wikipedia journey.
Can't someone post something from this evening on youtube? We non-nyc residents are severely deprived.
Unfortunately, no video for this one that I'm aware. Claire and Fred did great job. They cleverly (and sometimes humorously) worked through the Fermi Paradox, from our practical limits to detecting life beyond our planet to the complexities of even being able to define it. And the cultural, human significance of SETI. Plus, an honest concession from claire: "Frankly, I don't care about algae. I want intelligent life like you and me. Does that make me awful?"
No, Claire, it makes you human. And funny.
A great review of the event on The Beautiful Brain: