UW Today

This is an archived article.

October 15, 2009

UW Astrobiology Program to present lecture series ‘Life and the Universe’ through Nov. 17

The UW Astrobiology Program presents a series of lectures by renowned experts in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescopic discoveries and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The series explores the ideas of Galileo and Darwin and how those ideas have led to the emerging interdisciplinary science of astrobiology.

The series began Oct. 6 with George Coyne, astronomer, historian, Jesuit Priest and and emeritus director of the Vatican Observatory, lecturing on “The New Cosmos of Galileo.” The next lectures are:


  • Oct. 20: “The Origin of Life, the Universe, and the Scientific Method,” by Steve Benner, a biochemical expert with the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution.
  • Oct. 27: “Charles Darwin and Evolution Theory,” by Keith Benson, a historian of biology with the University of British Columbia.
  • Nov. 3: “Searching for Life,” with Chris McKay, astrobiologist with NASA Ames Research Center, who studies extreme life in Antarctica and the Atacama Desert of Chile, and searches for life on Mars.
  • Nov. 10: “Earth Life: Its History and Future,” with UW astrobiologist and paleontologist Peter Ward, who studies the history of our planet’s life as well as our long-term future.
  • Nov. 17: “Ice as an Evolutionary Playground, Here and Beyond,” with Jody Deming, UW microbiologist and astrobiologist, who studies microbes that survive within Arctic ice in Martian-like conditions.

All lectures are on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., in 120 Kane. The lectures are free but tickets are required. For ticket information, visit online here.