Things that go bump in the night: fast radio bursts and the search for life beyond Earth
Thanks to new, more powerful technology, astronomers can search the skies faster and with more resolution than ever before.
In this public lecture, I will talk about two exciting fields in astronomy: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and Fast Radio Bursts. The SETI field has been reinvigorated by the 10-year, $100M Breakthrough Listen initiative to search for intelligent life beyond Earth. As a project scientist for Breakthrough Listen, I will introduce the program and detail how we are using new technology to run the most comprehensive search for intelligent life beyond Earth ever undertaken. I will also discuss a mysterious phenomenon known as fast radio bursts: incredibly bright but short-lived signals from distant galaxies, which escaped detection until recently. Could these signals be due to intelligent aliens, or is there an astrophysical explanation? I will give an overview of how a telescope upgrade will help us answer this question, and how Swinburne astronomers will play a leading role. Finally, I will discuss what evidence would convince us that there is indeed life beyond Earth, or that the Universe is ours alone to enjoy.
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Presenter: Dr Daniel C Price, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University.
Date: Friday 22 February 2019
Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Venue: Swinburne University, ATC building, ATC101 (enter from Burwood Road)
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