Lewis Dartnell

Lewis Dartnell , University of Leicester

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 at 14:00 in the Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg

Lewis Dartnell, University of Leicester

Astrobiology – the hunt for alien life and implications for society


'Astrobiology' is a brand new field of science, encompassing research into the origins and limits of life on our own planet, and where life might exist beyond the Earth. But what actually is 'life' and how did it emerge on our own world? What are the most extreme conditions terrestrial life can tolerate? And which other planets and moons in our solar system, or even alien worlds we've now discovered orbiting distant stars, may harbour ET? Astrobiology attempts to address one of the most profound questions asked: are we alone...? The implications for society are profound either way, and the terrestrial and space exploration involved holds great public appeal: astrobiology is a great field for engaging the public with current science.


Dr. Lewis Dartnell (lewisdartnell.com) is a UK Space Agency research fellow based at University of Leicester, studying how life, and signs of its existence, might survive the intense cosmic radiation on the surface of Mars. Alongside his astrobiology research he writes regular science articles in newspapers and magazines, and has appeared in TV shows such as BBC Wonders of the Universe, Stargazing Live, and Horizon. He has published a popular science book introducing astrobiology, “Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide” (tinyurl.com/LifeInTheUniverse) and also an illustrated children's book with Dorling Kindersley, "My Tourists Guide to the Solar System" (tinyurl.com/TouristsGuide) .