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Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

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Rank #185 in Courses category

Education
Courses
Science
Natural Sciences
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Astronomy 141, Life in the Universe, is a one-quarter introduction toAstrobiology for non-science majors taught at The Ohio State University.This podcast presents audio recordings of Professor Richard Pogge'slectures from his Autumn Quarter 2009 class. All of the lectures were recorded live in 1005 Smith Laboratory on the OSU Main Campus in Columbus, Ohio.

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Astronomy 141, Life in the Universe, is a one-quarter introduction toAstrobiology for non-science majors taught at The Ohio State University.This podcast presents audio recordings of Professor Richard Pogge'slectures from his Autumn Quarter 2009 class. All of the lectures were recorded live in 1005 Smith Laboratory on the OSU Main Campus in Columbus, Ohio.

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Astronomy 161 & 162

By CPGguy - Oct 03 2017
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Excellent, educational and entertaining!

Thank you

By Aaronjw84 - Nov 15 2012
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Thanks for these podcasts. Been listening to them for 9hrs straight now :D

iTunes Ratings

106 Ratings
Average Ratings
89
8
4
1
4

Astronomy 161 & 162

By CPGguy - Oct 03 2017
Read more
Excellent, educational and entertaining!

Thank you

By Aaronjw84 - Nov 15 2012
Read more
Thanks for these podcasts. Been listening to them for 9hrs straight now :D
Cover image of Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

Astronomy 141 - Life in the Universe - Autumn Quarter 2009

Latest release on Dec 04, 2009

All 47 episodes from oldest to newest

Lecture 46: This View of Life (Course Finale)

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Course finale and summary. We look back over where we've been the last
eleven weeks, and bring together all of the main themes of this course
on Life in the Universe. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 4 in Room 1005 Smith
Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

Dec 04 2009

41mins

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Lecture 45: The Future of Life in the Universe

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How will life, the Universe, and everything end? This lecture looks at
the evolution of our expanding Universe to project the prospects for
life into the distant cosmological future. Recent observations show
that we live in an infinite, accelerating universe. I will trace the
evolution of the universe from the current age of stars into the future.
The final state of the Universe will be cold, dark, and disordered, and
ultimately inhospitable to life as we understand it or perhaps can
imagine it. Recorded live on 2009 Dec 3 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory
on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

Dec 03 2009

44mins

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Lecture 44: The Future of Life in the Solar System

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What is the future of life on Earth and in our Solar System? The Sun is
the source of energy for life on the Earth, but it will not shine
forever. This lecture looks at the impact of the various stages of the
evolution of the Sun on the habitability of the Solar System, with
particular emphasis on the continued habitability of the Earth. I will
refer to state-of-the-art computer models of the Sun to get is
properties at various stages in its past and future life. NOTE: Due to
a recorder malfunction this lecture was re-recorded later in the day on
2009 Dec 2, rather than being live from the class room in Smith
Laboratory. As such, it is about 10 minutes longer than usual (my
pacing is off when not in front of class).

Dec 02 2009

55mins

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Lecture 43: Extraterrestrial Life

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What does extraterrestrial life look like? This lecture explores
current thinking about what extraterrestrial life might be like not by
guessing their appearances, but instead applying lessons learned from
our growing understanding of how evolution and biochemistry work on
Earth. I will discuss Universal versus Parochial characteristics,
Convergent Evolution, Radical Diversity, and other ideas from
evolutionary biology that might inform how life might emerge on other
worlds. We will then look at alternatives to carbon biochemistry,
specifically the possibility of silicon-based life, and alternatives to
liquid water as a solvent medium for biochemistry, specifically the
possible role of Ammonia. Finally I will give one example of a highly
speculative idea about life without chemistry. In the end, the outcome
of such studies may not be to tell us much about extraterrestrials as to
help focus questions on how we ourselves arose. Recorded live on 2009
Dec 1 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio
State University.

Dec 01 2009

45mins

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Lecture 42: The Fermi Paradox

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So, Where is Everybody? Interstellar colonization, in principle, is an
exponential growth process that would fill the galaxy in a few million
years even with a very modest star flight capability. This is a small
fraction of the lifetime of the Milky Way Galaxy, so the Galaxy should
be teaming with life. But, we so far have no compelling evidence of
extraterrestrial visitations, alien artifacts, or any other evidences
that the Galaxy is populated. Physicist and Nobel Laureate Enrico
Fermi's apparent paradox and some of the proposed resolutions are the
topic of this lecture. I will review the Fermi Paradox and describe the
most common possible resolutions. The Fermi Paradox is useful in
helping to frame the question of extraterrestrial life, even if we so
far have no answers. At the end I only touch on the Rare Earth
Hypothesis, but this is a very nuanced question which requires a whole
other lecture to explore that I have not had time to fully prepare for
during this busy quarter. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 30 in Room 1005
Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

Nov 30 2009

44mins

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Lecture 41: Interstellar Travel and Colonization

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If we ever detect life elsewhere, how will we go visit? This lecture
considers the challenges of interstellar travel and colonization. The
problem is one of basic physics (the enormous energy requirements of
star flight) coupled with the vast, irreducible distances between the
stars. I will describe various starship concepts that use reasonable
extrapolations of current technologies (nuclear propulsion and solar
sails), ignoring for our discussions science-fiction exotica like
faster-than-light drives and wormholes. My interest is in the
scientific aspects of the problem, not an exploration of speculative
fiction. I then turn to interstellar colonization, and how even
a relatively modest star-flight capability might allow a determined
civilization to colonize the entire galaxy very rapidly. This has
implications for how we might interpret the results of Drake Equation
type arguments about the frequency of intelligent life in the Galaxy,
and leads to the Fermi Paradox that will be the topic of the next
lecture. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 25 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on
the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

Nov 25 2009

45mins

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Lecture 40: SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

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Is anybody out there? This lecture reviews the ideas behind SETI, the
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, an effort to find other
intelligent communicating civilizations by tuning in on their radio or
other electromagnetic communications. I will discuss the basic
approaches being taken by various SETI efforts, and what we expect to
find. In addition to listening, we have also been broadcasting,
intentionally or otherwise, messages into space, and we have sent
physical artifacts with descriptions of our home on robotic spacecraft
headed out of our solar system into interstellar space. Recorded live
on 2009 Nov 24 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of
The Ohio State University.

Nov 24 2009

46mins

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Lecture 39: The Drake Equation

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How many intelligent, communicating civilizations live in our Galaxy?
We have no idea. One way to approach the question and come up with
quasi-quantitative estimates is the Drake Equation, first introduced by
radio astronomy Frank Drake in the 1960s. I will use the Drake equation
as an illustration of the issues related to the question of
extraterrestrial intelligence, and to set the stage for future lectures
on the likelihood of finding other intelligences in our Universe.
Recorded live on 2009 Nov 23 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the
Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

Nov 23 2009

45mins

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Lecture 38: The Pale Blue Dot - Seeking Other Earths

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Are there other Earths out there? Do they have life on them? This
lecture looks at the search for ExoEarths - Earth-sized planets in the
habitable zones of their parent stars, and what we might learn from
measuring them. The ultimate goal of all planet searches is to find
other Earth's, what the late Carl Sagan so poetically called
the "pale blue dot" as seen from the depths of space. This lecture
discusses what we might learn about such planets from studies of our own
Earth, spectroscopic biomarkers that might reveal life, and variability
studies that might give us insight into surface features (continents
and oceans) and weather (clouds and even climate). Recorded live on
2009 Nov 19 in Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of
The Ohio State University.

Nov 19 2009

44mins

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Lecture 37: Strange New Worlds

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What are the properties of the 400+ exoplanets we have discovered so
far? This lecture reviews the properties of exoplanets, and finds a
couple of surprises: Jupiter-mass planets orbiting close to their parent
stars, and Jupiter-mass planets in very elliptical orbits. Both seem to
require some mechanism for migration: strong gravitational interactions
with either the protoplanetary disk or other giant planets to cause the
planets to move inward from their birth places beyond the "Ice Line".
We will then briefly discuss why we are seeing systems very different
from our own, mostly we think a selection effect due to our search
methods to date. Microlensing, however, is more sensitive to systems
like ours, and is starting to find them. Earths, however, remain
elusive so far, but the hunt is on. Recorded live on 2009 Nov 18 in
Room 1005 Smith Laboratory on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State
University.

Nov 18 2009

46mins

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