The Oxford Martin School Blog
Oxford Martin School at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival
06 Apr 2011 0 comment(s)
The Oxford Martin School has sponsored two exciting events at this year's Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival that address the future of life on our planet and in the universe.
The first event, titled 'Science and the Future: The future of life', took place on Sunday 3 April, and brought together scientists and artists to discuss how developments in the future might change our current concept of life. Covering topics that ranged from engineering synthetic life in a lab, to the existence of life on other planets, the panellists examined if and when these discoveries might be made, and what they would mean for our own existential beliefs. The panels also included an artist or poet, who provided their perspectives on what effects discovering or developing new life forms would have on culture. The five-hour discussion was enormously popular, with lively comments from the audience as well.
Dr Jill Tarter, Director of the Center for SETI Research, SETI Institute (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), gave our second talk on Tuesday 5 April, and outlined the SETI Institute's new efforts to search for other intelligent life in the universe. Since its founding in 1984, the Institute's mission has been to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. Dr Tarter outlined her team's recent work on detecting signals from other planets using the Allen Telescope Array, and offered the audience a chance to become involved with SETI research through the Institute's new setiQuest project, launched in March 2011. Dr Tarter is one of the world's most acclaimed astronomers and is the inspiration behind the character played by Jodie Foster in the 1997 film Contact. The audience was delighted to discuss humanity's most enduring question with a true expert.
In addition to these two events, the School's Director, Dr Ian Goldin, launched his new book, Exceptional People: How Migration Defined and Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future with a talk on the first evening of the festival. It is hoped that this year marks the start of a regular partnership between the Oxford Martin School and the Sunday Times, to bring to the festival each year the best writing on science and society.
- Event: "Science and the future" at the Oxford Literary Festival
- SETI Institute
- Exceptional People: How Migration Defined and Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future
- Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival