Climate and the Potential for Life on Other Planets
Dorian Abbot, Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago
Professor Abbot's talk was originally scheduled to be the Carlson Lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When MIT cancelled the lecture, the James Madison Program offered to host it instead.
Understanding planetary habitability is key to understanding how and why life developed on Earth as well as whether life is present on planets that orbit different stars (exoplanets). Whether a planet could be habitable is determined primarily by the planet's climate. This lecture will address insights we've gained from studying Earth's climate and how those have been used to make predictions about which exoplanets might be habitable, and how astronomical observations indicate the possibility of new climatic regimes not found on modern Earth. Finally, the lecture will cover some questions about the future of humanity and the Fermi paradox.
Dorian Abbot is an Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. In his research he uses mathematical and computational models to understand and explain fundamental problems in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Professor Abbot has also worked on problems related to climate, paleoclimate, the cryosphere, planetary habitability, and exoplanets. Recently he's been focusing on terrestrial exoplanets and habitability. He has an undergraduate degree in physics and a PhD in applied math, both from Harvard University.