S. Walter Stewart Library: The Search for Life on Exoplanets

Hanno Rein
Dr. Hanno Rein, Director of the Centre for Planetary Sciences, University of Toronto
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 -
6:30pm to 7:30pm

Finding compelling evidence for life on another planet would undoubtably be one of the biggest discoveries in the history of the human race. There are many places to look for such biosignatures, both in the Solar System and beyond. From the human perspective, the most exciting place is an Earth-twin around a Sun-like star. Chances are good for finding such a planet within the next few years. However, learning anything other than the planet's existence and its most fundamental properties such as mass and radius will be extremely difficult. Basic physical principles will prevent us from any detailed analysis of the planet's atmosphere. Even worse, there are false positives that could lead to a fictitious biosignature detection even if multiple chemical species are detected in a spectra. I will present an important new false positive involving an exo-moon.

Hanno Rein received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton before becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in 2013, and the Director of the Centre for Planetary Sciences in 2017. His research interests are broad, including planet formation, celestial mechanics, Saturn's rings, stochastic processes, N-body codes, hydrodynamics and high performance computing. He is also the developer of one of the most popular astronomy apps, the Exoplanet App.

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Registration: Not required
Organized by: Toronto Public Library
Location: 170 Memorial Park Avenue, Toronto, ON, M4J 2K5, 416-396-3975