Who Are We and Where Are We Going? The Human Search for Origins and Life Beyond Earth

Dragon Con
September 3, 2017

11:30-2:30, Hilton 210-211

Speakers: Ken Knoespel, Loren Williams, Amanda Stockton, Britney Schmidt, Luju Ojha, Chris Reinhard, Lisa Yaszek

Where do we come from? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? While the latter may seem like the stuff of 21st century science fiction, both questions have been integral to myriad cultures for millennia. Over the last decades however, research the life and physical sciences has brought these inquiries into the realm of science, and given rise to the field of astrobiology. But what do we know about our origins? And how do we search for life? The first part of this interactive symposium will introduce current scientific thought on the beginnings of our biochemistry, the evolution of our planet as a habitable system, and how we search for signs of life in space. The second half will explore the mutually influential roles science and science fiction, the implications of the discovery of water on Mars, and what life might look like on worlds far different than our own. Audience members are encouraged to come curious and ready with questions about the science and its place in our broader human context.