Lecturer: Richard pope
Teacher bio: http://peoplescolloquium.org/teacher-bios/
When looking out at the the universe with its nebula, quasars, and countless galaxies, a startling yet troubling question arises. Is the universe a lifeless desert stretching forever? There is of course one exception, and that is planet earth, which in comparison to everything we can see through our telescopes, is like an oasis. But what chance does our oasis and the life being nurtured on its shoreline stand against such a vast cosmic indifference, with cataclysms and novae that blow like a hot desert windstorm? More questions follow. Do other oases exist nurturing other lifeforms? If so, why can’t we see them, and why haven’t their lifeforms reached out to us? If such oases have gone dry, have their former hosts been reduced to bones amidst sands, or do they continue on in some other fashion, perhaps invisible to us? The name for the apparent lack of life in the universe, even though the conditions for life have existed for billions of years, is called Fermi’s Paradox, put forth by the famous physicist. During this lecture, we’ll explore this paradox and answers that are either convincing, fascinating, and/or hopeful.