Exoplanet expert asks 'Are We Alone?'

November 9th, 2012
Internationally renowned MIT astrophysicist and planetary scientist Sara Seager will discuss the search for habitable worlds when she conducts two lectures at Simon Fraser University on November 15 and 16, as part of the inaugural President's Dream Colloquium on the Emergence and Complexity of Life.

On November 15 in Burnaby, and November 16 at SFU's Vancouver campus, Seager will give presentations entitled Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds, which has been the main focus of her research for nearly 20 years.

Seager will also be featured on an upcoming edition of CBC's The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. Airing Thursday, November 15, Planet Hunters will discuss the Kepler Space Telescope's recent discoveries and follows the astrophysicists, including Seager, who are at the forefront of the search for Earth's twin.

Born and raised in Toronto, Seager developed a love of the stars at an early age and after graduating from the University of Toronto, attended the PhD program in Astronomy at Harvard.

During this time, in the mid-1990s, the first reports of exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) around sun-like stars began to appear.

Now an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT, Seager is consumed by exoplanets, where her research focuses on theory, computation and date analysis, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere.

While her discoveries have earned her numerous accolades, including being named one of Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential in Space in 2012, her latest endeavour may yield even greater rewards. Seager is a science advisor with Planetary Resources Inc., a space-mining venture backed by a group of luminaries including director James Cameron and software magnate Charles Simonyi.

Seager is the fifth speaker in the Colloquium series created by SFU President Andrew Petter in 2011. Designed as an initiative to bring leading thinkers to SFU, the Dream Colloquium will provide an annual forum for intensive interdisciplinary exchange amongst faculty and students.

For more information on Seager's lecture and the President's Dream Colloquium, visit: www.sfu.ca/grad.

Provided by Simon Fraser University

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