I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to become one of the SOC members of the International WG on Astrobioethics.
One of the main tasks of the Working Group will be to analyse the potential societal and ethical implications related to astrobiology, taking into account the complexity of the connections between its main scientific issues and goals (see, for instance, the NASA Astrobiology Institute Astrobiology Roadmap), and considering the synergies between both bioethical and geoethical approaches (from microbes to humans and from the Earth to space environments). To find out more and keep up with the latest news please like the International Working Group on Astrobioethics Facebook page.
The International Association on Geoethics is the only organisation linking geosciences and ethics, which incorporates in its official definition the significance of astrobiology: “Studies on planetary geology (sensu lato) and astrobiology also require a geoethical approach”. For more please see the IAGETH definition of geoethics.
The abstract and full-text of my doctoral dissertation, ‘The Charming Science of the Other: The cultural analysis of science in search for life beyond earth‘ is now available to download from Durham e-Theses.
Abstract: This dissertation presents the cultural study of scientific search for extraterrestrial life conducted over the past sixty years by the scientific community. It introduces an original piece of research that conceptualises the extraterrestrial life hypothesis as a significant part of the general world-view, constantly shaped by the work and discoveries of science. It sheds light on the ways in which alien life is imagined and theorised and presents its concept in both the scientific community and in popular culture. Drawing from anthropology of science it offers elaboration of ‘culture of science’ and ‘scientific culture’ and describes the scientific search for other life as a specific culture of science, here referred to as ‘charming science’. The three scientific search methods: message sending, analysing of cosmic signals and the search for extrasolar planets are conceptualised as the three search modes: messaging, listening and exploring respectively.
This work introduces the extraterrestrial ‘Other’ as a profoundly cultural concept, firstly presented as the missing subject of ‘charming science’. Exploration of public understanding the extraterrestrial life and popular imagination of the ‘Other’ is intended to introduce the scientific search in broader social context and address the role of science in contemporary Western world. The dissertation draws on the multi-sited and multi-method ethnographic fieldwork conducted over two years in the UK. The research methods included interviewing (semi-structured face-to-face interviews and interviews conducted via email), participation (conferences and scientific meetings), and data collection from the global ‘online’ community including social networks.
Keywords: science, extraterrestrial life, three modes, messaging, listening, exploring, anthropology of science, cultural analysis, multi-method research, multi-sited fieldwork, visual anthropology, popular culture, cultural formations, scientific practices, SETI, astrobiology, Other, cosmology, Western world, culture of science, scientific culture
Albína Dratvová: Life and Work – In Search of the Lost Cosmos is now available to download (PDF, Czech version).
My final year undergraduate project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree (Bc. of Liberal Arts and Humanities) to Charles Faculty of Humanities, University in Prague, 2005. The thesis ‘Albína Dratvová: Life and Work – In Search of the Lost Cosmos’ was supervised by PhDr. Lubica Gabriskova, CSc.
The two year research project into history of science, science and society, philosophy of science, biography and bibliography of Czech philosopher Dr Dratvova involved extensive study of archival data in the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.
The dissertation was later partially used as an introduction to a co-edited reprint of the actual diary entitled 'Albina Dratvova: Scientific Diary 1921-1961'. The book was edited by Klara Anna Capova, Libuse Heczkova, and Zuzana Lestinova and published in Prague by Academia in 2008.
Free preview and abstract is available from Academia Publishing (Czech only). For more information please see World Catalogue website. The book is available from the Library of Congress, Princeton University Library, British Library and National Library of the Czech Republic.
ISBN: 9788020016966 8020016961
The ‘Deathless Hopes’ conference will examine the subject of eschatology in Jewish and Christian traditions from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. Issues such as the hope of resurrection, apocalyptic scenarios, and cosmic redemption have been a hotbed of religious invention, renewal, and innovation with significant social consequences. Hosted by Oranim Academic College of Education in Tivon, Israel, the conference is funded by a Lautenschlaeger Symposium Grant.
I am very much looking forward to delivering my talk entitled ‘Technoscientific Afterlives: The New Cultural Practices and the Realm of Post-Modern Spirituality.’ Conference schedule is available to download from Fuller Theological Seminary website. For more information about the Fuller Theological Seminary please see Fuller Theological Seminary latest news or go to events page.
All talks from the 1st ORIGINS Conference Habitability in the Universe: From the Early Earth to Exoplanets held in Porto in March are now available to watch online. Enjoy!
I am pleased to announce that my recent paper ‘The New Space Age in the making: Emergence of exo-mining, exo-burials and exo-marketing’ was published by International Journal of Astrobiology, Cambridge (DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550416000185)
Abstract: At the beginning of the 21st century we witness considerable global developments in space exploration and a new era has begun: the New Space Age. The principal symbols of that age are firstly internationalization of space activities, secondly commercial utilization of space technologies, and lastly emergence of outer space economy. This paper presents selected signposts of the New Space Age. Three cases of recent outer space enterprises: recovery of asteroid resources (exo-mining), post-cremation memorial spaceflight (exo-burials) and first extraterrestrial advert (exo-marketing), are introduced in order to emphasize the monetary and social dimension of commercial application of space technologies. To give an illustration of these trends, this paper provides a brief socioculturally minded account of three outer space undertakings that are interpreted as signposts of the new era.
Keywords: new space age; outer space economy; asteroid mining; extraterrestrial marketing; memorial spaceflights
Oxford Talks, part of: Grand Challenges Seminar Series
University of Oxford, T. S. Eliot Lecture Theater
Are We Alone? Discourse on extraterrestrial research
26 January 2016, 17:00
‘Are We Alone?’ is a public seminar on the existence of extraterrestrial life, and the implications for our society. Questions posed during ‘Are We Alone?’ will include: is it worthwhile (economically, philosophically) to pursue extraterrestrial research? Are we are looking for life in the right forms? And how might the discovery of extraterrestrial life affect society?
The seminar will be ran as a panel discussion with three renowned guest speakers: Dr Klara Anna Capova, who is investigating attempts to detect life beyond Earth as well as scientific entrepreneurship at Durham University; Professor Ian Crawford, who is researching the future of space exploration at Birbeck University, University of London; and Dr Stuart Armstrong from the Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford; he is a SETI (UK) member and is interested in the long term potential for intelligent life.
Madame Mars, Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond, is a transmedia documentary tracing the long and arduous path women have taken in their efforts to explore Mars and worlds beyond.
Madame Mars project vision is to inspire young women and girls to pursue careers and opportunities in the space sciences.
Madame Mars is creating an interactive experience with a living laboratory of women working in space exploration which will inspire participation and exploration of Mars and world beyond.
Thank you for inviting me to take part in Madame Mars, I feel privileged to have had the chance to participate in such a project. I really enjoyed working with Madame Mars team in San Francisco last November, many thanks to Jan Millsapps, Beth Rogozinski and Melissa Lamming.
It was a great day and I am looking forward to seeing the Madame Mars documentary!