Adventure Science Center to host discussion on the possibility of life on Mars
If you saw (or plan to see) the movie The Martian, this is a Science Café you won’t want to miss; free and open to the public, Oct. 15
Science Café (free and open to the public)
“Life on Mars?: The hype, the reality, and lessons from the past”
Thursday, Oct. 15, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN
David Weintraub, Ph.D.
Professor of Astronomy, Vanderbilt University
“Canals on Mars!” (1880s) “Mars as the Abode of Life!” (1908) “Reflections from dark areas resemble chlorophyll!” (1924) “Dark areas resemble terrestrial lichens!” (1952) “Water on Mars is evidence of life!” (1965) “Viking lander experiments find evidence or organic activity!” (1976) “Evidence of ancient martian life in a martian meteorite!” (1996) “Methane gas in martian atmosphere can only come from active bacteria!” (2004) “Salty brine found on Mars … life could be hiding just a few feet underground!” (2015)…
Where does the hype end and the good science begin? We will explore a half century of claims of discoveries of methane in the atmosphere of Mars as a way of stepping back in order to take a rational review of what we know about the evidence for life on Mars. From our conversation, we can then sensibly evaluate the most recent great discoveries about Mars just announced by NASA.
Dr. Weintraub holds a Ph.D. in Geophysics & Space Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.S. in Physics & Astronomy from Yale University. At Vanderbilt, he is Director of Undergraduate Studies for Physics & Astronomy and directs programs in The Communication of Science & Technology and in Scientific Computing. He is an expert in the study of star and planet formation and has written three books for non-professional audiences — Is Pluto a Planet? (2006), How Old is the Universe? (2010), and Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It? (2014). He is the 2015 winner of the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, which recognizes the outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public.
Free and open to the public, Science Cafés offer unique opportunities to engage with science experts in a casual, unstructured setting. The monthly series allows science lovers of all ages to enjoy coffee and conversation about current issues. More information available at www.adventuresci.org/sciencecafe. Event subject to change.
About Adventure Science Center
For nearly 70 years, Adventure Science Center has brought science to life for students, teachers and families in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Northern Alabama and beyond. The Center offers hands-on, interactive exhibits and engaging programs that encourage visitors of all ages to explore how science is relevant in their lives. Adventure Science Center encourages imagination and curiosity in a fun, dynamic learning environment. For more information, call (615) 862-5160 or visit www.adventuresci.org.