Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

The 2011 Henry R. and Gladys V. Irons Lecture
in Physics and Astronomy

The Irons Lectures are free talks intended for the general public: high school students and teachers, college students and teachers, friends, neighbors, and anyone interested in science and science education.

Professor Geoffrey W. Marcy, University of California at Berkeley
Earth-Size Exoplanets and Intelligent Life in the Universe
2:00 P.M., Saturday April 9, 2011
Physics Lecture Hall, Busch Campus, Rutgers University

Science fiction portrays our Milky Way galaxy as filled with habitable planets populated by advanced civilizations engaged in interstellar trade and conflict. Back in our real universe, Earth-like planets and alien life have proved elusive. Has science fiction led us astray? NASA recently launched a new space-borne telescope, Kepler, dedicated to discovering the first Earth-like worlds around other stars. The first results are startling and profound. How common are worlds that are suitable for life? What properties make a planet livable? How common is life in the universe, especially intelligent life? New telescopic and biological observations are providing the first answers to these questions.

Geoff Marcy is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Marcy's research is focused on the detection of extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. His team has discovered more than 100 extrasolar planets, allowing study of their masses and orbits. Among the planets discovered are the first multiple-planet system, the first Saturn-mass planet, the first Neptune-mass planet, and the first transiting planet. Ongoing work is designed to study the mass distribution of planets and the eccentricity of their orbits, including the successful search for Earth-like planets with NASA's Kepler satellite. Dr. Marcy is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the Carl Sagan Award from the Planetary Society, and was named the Space Scientist of the Year by Discover magazine.

For the Rutgers scientific community, Professor Marcy will also present a more technical research seminar on Friday, April 8 at 3:00 P.M., in Serin Laboratory Room 385E, on "Exoplanets: Misaligned, Migratory, Metallic, and Mini."
More information:
  • Directions to the department. Please park in lot 53A if possible. If necessary, there are also multiple parking lots on Livingston Campus, with buses running every 20-30 minutes to (route "Weekend 2") and from (route "Weekend 1") the Hill Center on Busch Campus.
  • You may download a flyer (PDF format) for the Irons Lecture, including driving directions, suitable for copying and distribution.
  • For further information, contact Andrew Baker (ajbaker [at], phone 732-445-5500 x2544).

to Rutgers Physics Home Page
Last revised: April 3, 2011 by A. Baker.