On Tuesday, January 28, at 4 p.m., The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress will host a public conversation between its outgoing and incoming Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chairs in Astrobiology: David H. Grinspoon and Steven J. Dick. The dialogue is a unique opportunity for conversation between two of the world’s leading astrobiology researchers. Joel Achenbach, reporter for The Washington Post, will moderate. [Update 4/11/2014: The Searching for Life webcast and YouTube video are available for viewing]
The conversation, titled “Searching for Life in the Universe: What Does it Mean for Humanity?” will focus on the societal and humanistic implications of astrobiology. Should we discover evidence of life in the universe, what will be the ramifications for humanity and society? Dr. Dick and Dr. Grinspoon will offer insights based on their research conducted at the Library of Congress and throughout their careers.
Dr. Steven Dick is a well-known astronomer, author, and historian of science. His research at the Library of Congress investigates the human consequences of searching and potentially discovering microbial or intelligent life beyond Earth. Dick most recently testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology about astrobiology and the search for bio-signatures in our solar system.
Dr. David Grinspoon held the inaugural astrobiology chair position at the Library of Congress from November 2012 to October 2013. His successful tenure included a day-long symposium on the longevity of human civilization and speaking appearances at the Library, NASA headquarters, NASA Goddard Research Center, the Philosophical Society of Washington, the Carnegie Institute, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Grinspoon’s research at the Library of Congress examined the history of the Earth from an astrobiological perspective, and the consequences for life on Earth in the “Anthropocene Era,” the name given by some scientists to the current era in the Earth’s history.
Moderator Joel Achenbach has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1990. He is the author of seven books including, “Captured By Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe.” Assigned to The Post’s national desk, he writes on science and politics.
What: “Searching for Life in the Universe: What Does it Mean for Humanity?” with Dr. Steven J. Dick and Dr. David H. Grinspoon, moderated by Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post.
When: Tuesday, January 28, at 4:00 p.m.
Where: Room LJ-119, 1st Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Directions and maps
Free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed. Please request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov.
More Astrobiology Resources from The John W. Kluge Center and Science Reference Section:
- Article: Steven Dick Testifies Before House Science Committee
- Article: “Shaping the Future of the Earth From Inside the Library of Congress”
- Guide: Extraterrestrial Life– origin of all life and the search for its existence in extraterrestrial locales is the focus of this guide.
- Webcasts: “The Longevity of Human Civilization”
- Webcast: Exotic Earths with NASA scientists Avi Mandell
The John W. Kluge Center was established at the Library of Congress in 2000 to foster a mutually enriching relationship between the world of ideas and the world of action, between scholars and political leaders. The Center attracts outstanding scholarly figures to Washington, D.C., facilitates their access to the Library’s remarkable collections, and helps them engage in conversation with policymakers and the public. If you would like to stay up-to-date on activities and events at the The John Kluge Center you can sign up for its email notifications.