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Presentations of Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Trottier Symposium 2014

5:30-7:30 pm
Centre Mont Royal, 1000 Sherbrooke Street West (corner Mansfield)

These presentations have been recorded and are available as a webcast.

SARA SEAGER: “The Search for Earth 2.0”

For thousands of years, people have wondered, “Are we alone?” Astronomers have now ascertained, statistically speaking, that every star in our Milky Way Galaxy should have at least one planet and that small rocky planets are extremely common. Our own Galaxy has 100 billion stars, and our Universe has upwards of 100 billion galaxies — making the chance for life elsewhere seem inevitable based on sheer probability. Now for the first time in human history, current technology puts us on the verge of being able to search for planets like Earth that may have suitable conditions for life. Astronomers hope to not only discover planets like Earth, but observe their atmospheres for gases that may have been produced by life. Professor Seager will describe the science and technology behind the search for Earth 2.0.

JOE NICKELL: “UFO Mythologies”

When most people think of mythology, they typically recall the ancient Greek and Roman myths, or other ancient stories of super beings. Yet we are living in the midst of two relatively modern and robust mythologies: those of, first, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, and second, of extraterrestrials. Both are living mythologies, and both involve folk entities that are versions of ourselves: one imagined from the past (a hairy man-beast type), the other having evolved in popular culture as futuristic (with tiny body and large brain case). Interestingly, both involve, to a greater or lesser degree, UFOs. Here, on our fragile, shrinking planet — often feeling endangered but looking toward unknown frontiers — we find ourselves at a mythological juncture.