Probing Supermassive Black Hole Growth with Next Generation Telescopes

skaA new generation of telescopes is coming online. Operating at wavelengths from radio, through optical, to gamma ray, they are particularly well-suited to time-domain survey science -- essentially, making large-format movies of the sky.

The Algorithmic Origins of Life

The origin of life is arguably one of the greatest unanswered questions in science. A primary challenge is that without a proper definition for life – a notoriously challenging problem in its own right – the problem of how life began is not well posed. Here we propose that the transition from non-life to life may correspond to a fundamental shift in causal structure, where information gains direct, and context-dependent, causal efficacy over matter, a transition that may be mapped to a nontrivial distinction in how living systems process information.

The Evolution of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Life: A Theological Assessment

The set of assumptions that generates progressive research programs associated with the search for extra-terrestrial life--especially intelligent life--constitute a myth-like picture of reality.

A New Feed for the Allen Telescope Array and the Science That it Will Enable

The current feeds of the antennas in the Allen Telescope Array are somewhat unusual and provide wide bandwidth and good sensitivity.  We have recently developed an upgrade to the feed which has even more bandwidth and, equally important, substantially better sensitivity.  The new sensitivity is about as good as can be achieved.  We describe the steps to the upgrade and then lay out new science that is enabled by it, including SETI and the structure of both the nearby and distant universe.

ET Math: How Different Could It Be?

We like to think that intelligent aliens would have the same basic ideas about numbers and geometry as us, but, even if they do, they might express those ideas very differently. To illustrate what different forms a concept can take, I will show how differently the law ab=ba has been interpreted at different times in human mathematical culture. This seemingly basic law has several different origins -- in geometry, number theory, and set theory -- some of which seem alien even to experienced mathematicians.

First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth (BOOK LAUNCH and panel)

For untold centuries, people have looked to the distant skies in search of life -- be it God-like or heavenly, demonic or the whole gamut of bizarre extraterrestrials imagined. Today, for the first time in human history, science is getting close to answering the eternal question of what lies beyond, and the science is generally pointing in one direction: That life is most likely a commonplace in the universe.

Exchanging Information with the Stars: Wide-­?Area Communication Writ Large

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has sought radio beacons devoid of information content. It seems likely, however, that a civilization transmitting a radio signal intended for our detection will also be motivated to embed information within the signal, especially in view of the large speed-of-light latencies.

Science Fiction as a bridge between Future Societies and the Contemporary Russian and American Cultures

Dr. Mikhaylova will discuss images from science fiction literature and films which have addressed human interaction in space (created by Frederick Pohl, Ivan Yefremov, Arthur C. Clarke, in Star Trek, Avatar, etc.). Is international cooperation essential for humans to move into the Universe – or not? Has the time arrived to build burgers on Mars? Dr. Mikhaylova will discuss the results of recent internet contests of SF about space in Russia and the 'Back to the Future' contest conducted by NASA.

Statistical Equation for Habitable (SEH) and the Statistical Fermi Paradox

In this lecture Dr. Maccone will provide a statistical equation that we call Statistical Equation for Habitables (SEH) as well as its relationship to the Statistical Fermi Paradox. He will start by noting that the statistics of habitable planets may be based on a set of ten (and possibly more) astrobiological requirements first pointed out by Stephen H. Dole in his book “Habitable planets for man” (1964).


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