"As astronomical techniques become more advanced, a team of astrophysicists think they will be able to not only detect the signatures of alien life in exoplanetary atmospheres, but also track its relentless spread throughout the galaxy.
The research, headed by Henry Lin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), assumes that this feat may be possible in a generation or so and that the hypothesis of panspermia may act as the delivery system for alien biology to hop from one star system to another."
Prof. Soderberg participated in the 2015 BBC Stargazing Live television show at Jodrell Bank radio telescope (http://www.jodrellbank.net/) during the total solar eclipse in the UK on March 20. Together with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O'Brianin, she described the the life, death, and the "sound" of stellar explosions as compiled by the Harvard/CfA Supernova Forensics Team.
We are very sad to report that our colleague Alex Dalgarno passed away on April 9. Alex was an extraordinary scientist and teacher, who led for decades the application of atomic and molecular physics to astrophysics. He conceived of ITAMP, the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics, and led it for many years. Read more about Alex Dalgarno
Physics World: An Italian bid to host the headquarters of the world’s largest radio telescope has been judged superior to a British proposal – yet it has failed to get the green light. Edwin Cartlidge reports:
Physics World: UK and Italy vie over telescope HQ (pdf)
A Science magazine issued a special issue in March, 2015 which was dedicated to the 100 years anniversary of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a project in which members of the Astronomy department are involved, is mentioned on the last two pages as the final frontier.Read more about The Dark Lab: Special Issue of Science features EHT
"With hundreds of Earth-like planets discovered over the past few years, it’s fair to say we’re on the verge of finding alien life. Two new programs at NASA hope to find and analyze thousands more of these exoplanets, as they’re called. Scientists working on the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope say there’s a very real chance of finding extraterrestrial life within the next two decades. So, if we’re about to meet our extraterrestrial neighbors, let’s get to work on some opening lines. What if we’re really not alone? Read more about Earth 2.0: NPR Radio Interview
"Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs?" Read more about A New Approach to SETI: Targeting Alien Polluters