In Spring 2021 (exact date TBD) Harvard CMSA will be hosting the second annual Yip Lecture. The Yip Lecture takes place thanks to the support of Dr. Shing-Yiu Yip. This year’s speaker will be Avi Loeb (Harvard).
Abraham (Avi) Loeb is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University. Loeb published 4 books and over 700 papers on a wide range of topics, including black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe. He serves as Chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, Founding Director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative and Director of the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) within the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics . He also chairs the Advisory Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, serves as the Science Theory Director for all Initiatives of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, as well as Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. In 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space.
Prof. Loeb’s book, titled Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth is available for purchase in January 2021. Learn more here.
Abstract: Are we alone? It would be arrogant to think that we are, given that a quarter of all stars host a habitable Earth-size planet. Upcoming searches will aim to detect markers of life in the atmospheres of planets outside the Solar System. We also have unprecedented technologies to detect signs of intelligent civilizations through industrial pollution of planetary atmospheres, space archaeology of debris from dead civilizations or artifacts such as photovoltaic cells that are used to re-distribute light and heat on the surface of a planet or giant megastructures. Our own civilization is starting to explore interstellar travel. Essential information may also arrive as a “message in a bottle”, implying that we should examine carefully any unusual object that arrives to our vicinity from outside the Solar System, such as `Oumuamua.
Last year’s Yip Lecture featured Peter Galison (Harvard), who spoke on the EHT’s hunt for an objective image of a black hole.