At 7:30 PM, 10 March 2017, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, The Sunshine Coast Centre welcomes Dr. Stanley Greenspoon, whose topic will be “Are We Alone?
The Search for Extra-Solar Planets.”
Beginning with the achievements of Copernicus and Galileo in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Earth lost its privileged status in our Solar System. Subsequently, the Sun was found to be a rather ordinary star among the estimated 200 to 400 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, which itself is now known to be one of at least 1 trillion galaxies in the Universe. While it had long been assumed that there were planets in orbit around other stars, it was not until 1995 that an extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star was confirmed to exist, the first of over 3000 such exoplanets discovered since then. I will discuss, and in some cases demonstrate, the techniques used to detect exoplanets and measure their properties. The criteria for the presence of life on exoplanets will be discussed, as will the issues involved in our being able to gather data conclusively proving life’s existence.
Stanley Greenspoon earned his B.Sc. degree (Honours Physics) from McGill University and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Waterloo. He is a faculty emeritus at Capilano University, having retired in 2014 after having taught physics and astronomy there since 1988 and serving as chair of the Pure & Applied Sciences Division from 2006 to 2014. Earlier in his career, Stan taught at a number of universities and colleges in Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland. When he was in his twenties, Stan served on the Secretariat of the United Nations in New York City as a science affairs officer, involved with the application of science and technology to development. His scientific interests, publications, and conference presentations have been in the areas of Statistical and Condensed Matter Physics, Astronomy, and Physics Education. From 2006 to 2014, Stan was chair of the British Columbia Physics and Astronomy Articulation Committee, at which representatives from universities and colleges across the province meet to facilitate student transfer between institutions.
Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.