talks

 

What is life? Where do we come from? The increasing role of astrobiology in the shaping of the European popular worldview

Frontiers of Sciences IV, Leeds, United Kingdom 
Science and Society event organised in association with the Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Astrobiology Society of Britain (Mar 15, 2019)

As a science that deals with the profound questions of life’s origins, astrobiology deals with topics of high social interest and far-reaching sociocultural implications. The social significance of astrobiology stands out in its impact on forms of social life such as religious beliefs and the worldviews of contemporary Europeans. The question ‘where do we come from?’ is a common theme in theoretical cosmogonies and origin of the humankind globally. They are a central component of human self-understanding and a cultural frame of reference in worldview formation.


Human extremophiles: Mars as a camera obscura of the extraterrestrial scientific culture

Mars Settlement Workshop, London, United Kingdom 
A forum for informal discussion on how recent plans to set up human Mars missions, and eventual Mars settlements, can be informed by Earth-based experience (Dec 10, 2018)

The arrival of the 3rd millennium in the history of Western societies marked an upcoming of a new era of scientific and technological ambitions and achievements in space technologies, together with the new visions of the space exploration. The enterprising plans of space travel and even creating a first human settlement on Mars are frequently presented as the next proverbial giant leap for humankind. The chapter considers the plans and motivations for future exploration of Mars from a sociocultural perspective. Further, it discusses why Mars is of such importance to public imagination today. In presenting a socio-science fiction, and regarding science as the mode of operating of such endeavour, the chapter argues that the Martian colonists will need to live in the extreme environments, survive unprecedented scenarios and in a way become organisms that thrive in extreme conditions, extremophiles, themselves.


Astrobiology Outreach and Dissemination: the new communication channels for innovative science

NoR HGT & LUCA Conference, Athens, Greece 
Molecules to Microbes (Nov 5, 2018)

The multidisciplinary field of astrobiology provides an excellent example of the international cooperation among a large number of disciplines. Yet, at the same time, it poses a challenge of how to effectively communicate and disseminate such a wide and innovative field of knowledge to audiences outside the astrobiology community. In general, scientists today are often expected to take a proactive role in this endeavour and assist the society in understanding the basic concepts of their respective fields as well as the recent discoveries. The need to communicate science information applies also to the promotion of a ‘good’ science as a reaction to often misleading media or popular stories. In the context of the new technologies, also new channels of communicating scientific knowledge are being explored, such as advanced visualisation techniques, interactive exhibits, virtual reality and other.


Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today. The White Paper on the societal implications of astrobiology research in Europe and the need for a European Astrobiology Institute

18th European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA), Berlin, Germany 
Session 8: Social Sciences, Outreach and Education (Sept 24-28, 2018)

The talk gives an outline of a recently completed joint work of WG5 Philosophy and History of Astrobiology, a part of COST Action Life-ORIGINS TD1308 Origins and evolution of life on Earth and in the Universe. With the aim to inform space science professionals as well as interested public about the White Paper, the sections related to contributions of astrobiology to society, advancement of science in Europe, environmental protection, as well as societal challenges from astrobiology, and potential conflicts of interest between astrobiology and commercial use of space will be introduced.


Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today. The White Paper on the societal implications of astrobiology research in Europe and the need for a European Astrobiology Institute

European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC), Berlin, Germany
Outreach, Education and Policy Session (OEP6): Astrobiology Teaching, Outreach and Dissemination (Sept 17-21, 2018)

The talk gives an outline of a recently completed joint work of WG5 Philosophy and History of Astrobiology, a part of COST Action Life-ORIGINS TD1308 Origins and evolution of life on Earth and in the Universe. With the aim to inform space science professionals as well as interested public about the White Paper, the sections related to contributions of astrobiology to society, advancement of science in Europe, environmental protection, as well as societal challenges from astrobiology, and potential conflicts of interest between astrobiology and commercial use of space will be introduced.


Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today

TD 1308 ORIGINS Conference, Bertinoro, Italy 
Life on Earth and beyond: emergence, survivability, and impact on the environment (Mar 19-24, 2018)

The talk presents the final version of Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today and plans for its future dissemination. The White Paper is a joint work of WG5 History and Philosophy of Astrobiology and discusses the societal implications of astrobiology research in the European context and the timely role of an organised initiative in astrobiology policy as well as astrobiology communication.


Women in Science & Technology: Unknown stories of women who changed our world.

Secondary School of Engineering (SPS), Pisek, Czech Republic (Mar 1, 2018)

Outreach lecture delivered to high school students of mechanical engineering. Organised by the Bonum Centre for Volunteering, Caritas Czech Republic.


‘Life on Earth’ and ‘life beyond Earth’: two icons of the new Space Age

Observatoire de Paris, L’université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres, France
(Nov 22, 2017)

The paper presents the concepts of ‘life on Earth’ and ‘life beyond Earth’ as icons of the new Space Age by showing imagery as dominant science rhetorics and a powerful tool in science communications.


Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today

TD 1308 ORIGINS Meeting, Furnas, Azores, Portugal
EGU Galileo Conference “Geoscience for understanding habitability in the solar system and beyond” (Sep 25-29, 2017)

In this paper, presented by the White Paper lead authors on behalf of the WG5 History and Philosophy of Astrobiology, the prefinal version of the joint Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today will be introduced. The talk gives a brief overview of the structure and contents of the latest version of the white paper, that is Version 5.2. During the talk, we will discuss the societal implications of astrobiology research in the European context and the timely role of an organised initiative in astrobiology policy as well as astrobiology communication.


The Commercial Conquest of the Solar System: Is outer space available on a first come first served basis?

CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid, Spain
24th Image Symposium – Glitch Futures. Data Speculation, Technocosmology and Dispossession in Times of Accelerated Capitalism (Jun 20-22, 2017)

The US Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act says that any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained them and the role of US Office of Space Commerce is to ‘foster the conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the U.S. space commerce industry.’ The outer space domain is now regarded as potentially a ‘private property’ while mass media regularly report on ambitious plans to create a permanent settlement on Mars, travel to earth’s orbit, and mine asteroids for resources. It is clear that the space commerce shall raise a number of new themes such as the impact of human activities on celestial bodies, space exploration and exploitation, and planetary protection. To illustrate those themes the author presents anthropologically minded socioscientific case studies to exhibit themes of neo-colonialism, exo-environmentalism, outer space resources utilisation and monetisation in context with space commerce.


‘Life on Earth’ and ‘life beyond Earth’: two icons of the new Space Age

Center of Theological Inquiry, CTI, Princeton, USA
Questing for Life: Emerging Scholar Workshops on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology (Jun 13-16, 2017)

Supported by a grant from the NASA Astrobiology Program and the Templeton Foundation, the 2016/2017 Center’s Inquiry on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology aims to engage the humanities, social sciences, philosophy, and theology with current science exploring the origins and extent of life in the universe. The workshop Questing for Life: Emerging Scholar Workshops on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology focuses on the joint contributions of the sciences and humanities.

The paper presents the concepts of ‘life on Earth’ and ‘life beyond Earth’ as icons of the new Space Age by showing imagery as dominant science rhetorics and a powerful tool in science communications.


Anthropology of Outer Space

Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Study, Lund University, Sweden
A Plurality of Lives Project Seminar (May 22, 2017)

The talk gives a basic description of the anthropology of outer space and 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.


Poster: Societal Context of European Astrobiology Research: Astrobiology White Paper

Astrobiology Science Conference, AbSciCon, Mesa Arizona
Poster Session I: Astrobiology as a Human Endeavor. Astrobiology Education and Public Outreach: Innovations in Astrobiology Teaching and Learning (Apr 24, 2017) – with Erik Persson and David Duner

The poster presents recent work of Working Group 5 Philosophy and History of Science, is a Trans Domain European COST Action Life-ORIGINS TD1308 and introduces the latest draft of the White Paper on societal implications of astrobiology research in the European context, ‘Astrobiology and Society in Europe Today.’ The poster provides an overview of sections related to contributions of astrobiology to society, advancement of science in Europe, environmental protection and the quest for sustainability, as well as societal challenges from astrobiology, and potential conflicts of interest between astrobiology and commercial use of space.


Poster: Students Attitudes to Astrobiology. Attitudes Towards Scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life Among Swedish High School and University Students

Astrobiology Science Conference, AbSciCon, Mesa Arizona
Poster Session I: Astrobiology as a Human Endeavor. Astrobiology Education and Public Outreach: Innovations in Astrobiology Teaching and Learning (Apr 24, 2017) – with Erik Persson and Yuan Li

The poster presents the results of a recent study looking into the attitudes towards the scientific search for extra-terrestrial life among high school and university students in Sweden. The analysis has revealed that (a) the great majority of students believe that extra-terrestrial life exists; (b) most students regard searching for extra-terrestrial life to be fairly important; (c) very few students think that searching for extra-terrestrial life is something we should actively avoid; (d) the most common motive for assigning a high priority to search for extra-terrestrial life, is that it is interesting; and the most common motive for assigning a low priority is the opinion that such knowledge would not be practically useful or that the money would be better spent elsewhere; (e) most students do not think they are very well informed regarding the search for extra-terrestrial life.


Poster: Societal Context of European Astrobiology Research, Astrobiology White Paper

EANA, Eugenides Foundation, Athens, Greece
The European Astrobiology Network Association Workshop (Sep 27-30, 2016)

The poster presents recent work of WG5 Philosophy and History of Science (Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) and introduces the latest draft of the White Paper on ethical, societal and political consequences of astrobiology research. The poster provides an overview of sections related to contributions of astrobiology to society, advancement of science in Europe, environmental protection and the quest for sustainability, societal challenges from astrobiology, and potential conflicts of interest between astrobiology and commercial use of space.


Technoscientific Afterlives: The New Cultural Practices and the Realm of Postmodern Spirituality

Oranim Academic College of Education, Tivon, Israel
Deathless Hopes: Reinventions of Afterlife and Eschatological Beliefs; A Manfred Lautenschläger Colloquium (Jul 11, 2016)

The talk introduced anthropological research into cryogenic and post-cremationist afterlives, conceptualised as postmortem rituals of the space age in order to document the emergence of new cultural practices and post-modern spirituality. This was to provide insights into how modern technologies change the ways people relate to key facts of their existence and to document how technologies transform not only lives but also the visions of the afterlife. The ‘Deathless Hopes’ conference examined 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.


Astrobiology White Paper: Budapest, Lund and Vilnius

TD13008 COST Action Meeting, Vilnius, Lithuania
From star and planet formation to early life (Apr 25-28, 2016)

During the working groups’ parallel session, on behalf of Working Group 5: History and Philosophy of Science, I presented our progress in the compilation of Astrobiology White Paper and provided the overview of our joint work in Lund with Prof David Duner and Dr Erik Persson. Especially, I reported on sections related to contributions of astrobiology to society, advancement of science in Europe, environmental protection and the quest for sustainability, societal challenges from astrobiology, and potential conflicts of interest between astrobiology and commercial use of space. Furthermore, I discussed the draft of the guidelines for the future European Astrobiology Institute as well as its relation to the general public and role in astrobiology education and popularisation of science.


Are We Alone? Discourse on extraterrestrial research.

Oxford University, T. S. Eliot Lecture Theatre, UK
Grand Challenges Seminar Series (Jan 26, 2016)

‘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.


Workshop and the White Paper Writing Session

TD1308 COST Action Meeting, Budapest, Hungary
Missions to Habitable Worlds and 2nd Core Group Meeting (Oct 28-30, 2015)


Space. The final frontier … to seek out new life, to boldly go where no science has gone before!

University of Roehampton, London, UK
Frontiers of Life: Terrestrial and Extra-Terrestrial Prospections Workshop (June 18, 2015)

Workshop background: The question of life is a perennial problem that has puzzled philosophers since Antiquity. If one considers its modern scientific conception, one notices that life’s limits continue to shift and expand in remarkable ways. Astrobiology is arguably one of the most fertile grounds if one looks for creative reformulations of traditional neo-Darwinism. What remains underappreciated is that this development is very much in line with recent advances in the social sciences. In anthropology, several initiatives have been taken to rebuild our understanding of life and its evolution on entirely different ontological foundations.


Shall They Stay or Shall We Let Them Go … ?

TD1308 COST Action Meeting, Höör, Sweden
The Origin of Life, Second Conference on History and Philosophy of Astrobiology (May 8-10, 2015)

In the new era of space exploration, which can be defined as a process of internationalisation of space activities followed by the commercial availability of space technologies; the new semi-commercial space enterprises are being formed and we witness an emergence of a new, fast-growing multimillion-pound industry derived from the space programme. Outerspace exploration had posed a great challenge to policymakers yet the space commerce raises a variety of new ethical issues none of which seem to be addressed properly such as code of conduct, planetary protection, and the protection of human life during commercial space flight. During the talk, the concept of space commerce or commercialised science will be introduced.


Astrobiology in the Age of Social Media: The ‘science of the unknown’ and the sociocultural dimension of transformative ideas

TD1308 COST Action Origins Meeting, Porto, Portugal
Habitability in the Universe: From the Early Earth to Exoplanets Conference (Mar 22-27, 2015)

The presentation focuses on the role and sociocultural impact of astrobiology and the epistemological shift from intelligent towards primitive life in thinking about life beyond earth. The paper introduces the variety and conceptual confusion of what the idea of ‘life’ entails to illustrate the presence of multiple concepts in popular opinion and mass media. It presents quantitative and semi-qualitative data to discuss popular beliefs in life beyond earth from different perspectives such as demographics, age, and religious affiliation.


Anthropology of the Extra-Terrestrial: Following the ‘Thing’

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Guest Lecture: Current Issues in Sociocultural Anthropology (March 12, 2015)

Drawing from the anthropology of science as a rather new field of anthropological research (Lecture 1), this lecture will summarise on the ethnographic fieldwork and discuss relevant research methods such as combined semi-structured interviews (astrobiologists, physicists, and astronomers), participation, and data collection from the global ‘online’ community. The lecture presents data set collected during the recently completed doctoral research and presents a case study of how the visual evidence can be used and utilised in writing about science and global popular culture.


Anthropology of the Extra-Terrestrial: Culture of Science and Scientific Culture

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Guest Lecture: Current Issues in Sociocultural Anthropology (March 05, 2015)

The lecture will introduce a piece of research devoted to the socio-cultural aspects of the scientific search for life in outer space. Drawing from the anthropology of science it offers an elaboration of ‘culture of science’ and ‘scientific culture’. Firstly it describes the scientific search for other life as a specific culture of science. Exploration of public understanding the extraterrestrial life and popular imagination of the extra-terrestrial is intended to introduce the scientific search in the broader social context and address the role of science in the contemporary Western world.


UFOs & Science of Astrobiology: Science, Fiction & Popular Culture

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
2nd year Anthropology BSc: Biology, Culture and Society (Feb 20, 2015)

Guest lecture (repeated) Although the actual form of extraterrestrial life is hardly predictable, the alien life is vividly imagined and publicly discussed and as such is embedded in popular culture (e.g. science fiction, folk mythology) but also manifested in science education, science documentaries, and mass media. On the base of this data, the lecture offers an insight into the current concepts of other life as theorized and reproduced by the scientific community and in popular culture.


Debate: This House, as a Student, Would Join the Mars One Mission

The Durham Union Society, Durham, UK (Feb 13, 2015)

The Mars One project is a mission to establish the first human settlement on Mars. We ask whether as a student, we would take a one-way ticket to the Red Planet for scientific discovery and adventure in lieu of life on Earth. Speaking for the Proposition: Hannah Earnshaw, Durham PhD student in the last 750 out of 200,000 applicants for the Mars One mission; Dr Monica Grady CBE, Leading space scientist and Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University. Speaking for the Opposition: Dr Chris Newman, Module Leader in Space Law at University of Sunderland; Dr Klara Anna Capova, Cultural Anthropologist.


Space Drama, One-World & (Neo)Colonialism: The Anthropology in/of Outer Space

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Guest Lecture: Environmental Anthropology (Feb 02, 2015)

The lecture focuses on environmental aspects of the space age, the notion of one-world, globalising processes and their impact on local cultures. Examples of commercial attempts to utilise environments beyond our world will be introduced to show how environmental themes relate to the sociocultural study of outer space. The lecture aims to provide a framework for the investigation of important contemporary issues in anthropology including natural resource use, environmental perception, environmental change, cultural landscapes, and belonging.


Communicating Across the Cosmos: Summary of a Workshop on Interstellar Message Design

SETI Institute, Mountain View, California, USA
Communicating Across the Cosmos Workshop (Nov 12, 2014)

For over a half century, astronomers involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have scanned the skies for signals from distant civilizations. Speakers from six countries will draw on disciplines ranging from astronomy and mathematics, to anthropology and linguistics, as they debate the best ways to create meaningful messages. On the day following the workshop, several of the speakers will summarize the key ideas discussed as part of the SETI Institute’s public weekly colloquium series.


The Principles of Interstellar Messaging: An Anthropological Perspective

SETI Institute, Mountain View, California, USA
Communicating Across the Cosmos: How Can We Make Ourselves Understood by Other Civilizations in the Galaxy? (Nov 10 – 11, 2014)

Each of the messages can be viewed as a cultural or ‘culture-scientific’ archive precisely because it is a time capsule designed to communicate across space and time. To be able to unlock the archive we firstly need to understand how a message is done; this involves looking into key practices and principles of message construction. Of particular interest is then the ability to grasp the meaning of the message in terrestrial conditions – in other words, to question the comprehensibility of the potential terrestrial receiver, the ‘reader’.


Normative Interstellar Communication

University of London, Birkbeck College, UK
SETI UK Research Network Meeting (Sep 11 – 12, 2014)

In this paper, I present the socio-cultural approach to interstellar communication and ask how we think about communication. How hard can is it to ‘get the message’ in terrestrial conditions? I present examples of verbal & non-verbal, miscommunications, and cross-cultural communication to address cognitive assumptions, cultural stereotypes, and core values that affect cross-cultural exchange. Visual evidence includes cross-cultural perceptions of beauty & Western gender biases.


Listening to the Sounds of Science. The Sonic Experience of the Outer Space

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Postgraduate Anthropology Conference (May 9, 2014)

The outer space, until very recently a silent domain, is now generating soundscapes that are distributed among the public, such as SETI@home project. From the acoustic transformation of the unheard into the audible emerged the public conception of cosmic sound-marks of the new world order. The presentation will focus on the search for Other life as a sonic experience and introduce ‘listening’ as an alternative to standard visual scientific rhetoric.


Poster: Getting the Message Across. Science in Search for Life Beyond Earth

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Postgraduate Anthropology Conference (May 9, 2014)

The poster introduces the science in the search for life beyond earth as a case study of a dynamic scientific practice and presents reflections on this practice in global popular culture and mass media. The ‘search’ is a temporal practice that is also culturally biased and takes place in the societal context. The poster presents a case study of how visual evidence can be used and utilised in writing about science and global popular culture.


(Extra)Terrestrial Cultures: Culturally Determined Contact Scenarios

International Academy of Astronautics, Paris, France
5th IAA Search for Life Signatures Symposium (Mar 20 – 21, 2014)

The paper gives an overview of current contact scenarios and post-detection protocols. From the sociocultural perspective, those are mostly culturally biased and tailored to Western or Westernised countries. Given the variety of cultures on Earth, and the extraterrestrial life discovery having an unquestionably global impact, the paper seeks to consider how the non-Western and non-Christian cultures would/could respond to the discovery.


UFOs & Science of Astrobiology. Science, Fiction & Popular Culture

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
2nd year Anthropology BSc: Biology, Culture and Society (Nov 12, 2013)

Although the actual form of extraterrestrial life is hardly predictable, the alien life is vividly imagined and publicly discussed and as such is embedded in popular culture (e.g. science fiction, folk mythology) but also manifested in science education, science documentaries, and mass media. On the base of this data, the lecture offers an insight into the current concepts of other life as theorised and reproduced by the scientific community and in popular culture.


Alien To Me

European Planetary Science Congress, University College London, UK
OEP – Outreach, Education and Policy Session (Sep 12, 2013)

The paper presents examples from visual culture and scientific documentaries collected during ethnographic fieldwork in order to demonstrate how the popular culture adapted the other life idea and how the presupposed other life is perceived and reproduced. This highlights the role of digital media and social networks that emerge as an important medium through which science engages with its audiences, and as a global network through which the public opinion is shared.


The Charming Science of the Extraterrestrial. Science in search for life beyond Earth

Durham University, Department of Anthropology, UK
Anthropology Society Seminar Series (Jan 23, 2013)

The paper 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 was essential to employ a variety of anthropological approaches as well as triangulate the research methods. Those included interviewing (semi-structured & email), participation (conferences, scientific meetings), and data collection from the global ‘online’ community.


Listening to the Sounds of Space

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
‘Sounds of Space’ Workshop (Nov 30 – Dec 01, 2012)

The outer space, until very recently a silent domain, is now generating soundscapes that are distributed to wide audiences, e.g. SETI@home project. The presentation focuses on SETI as a sonic experience and introduce ‘listening’ as an alternative to standard visual scientific rhetoric. This includes also the actual sound marks such as: Listening to the sounds of silence (SETI search for life beyond earth); and Audibility of life and cultures on Earth (Voyager & TeenAge).


The Etiquette of the Space Conquest

Durham University, Ustinov College, Cafe Politique
Regulating the UnRegulatable: Cyber & Outer Space (Oct 16, 2012)

This paper introduces the ideas of “one-world” and “whole earth” based on the analysis of the famous Earth-rise photo to illustrate how the contemporary worldview and perceptions of outer space transformed in the context of scientific progress and space exploration. Also, the notion of global (and globalism) emerged in the immediate context of space exploration and its socioeconomic and sociopolitics dimension. Hence the space policies were developed to regulate human activities in space and terrestrial and extraterrestrial affairs.


Ethnographic Fieldwork – Thinking outside the box

Durham University, Department of Music, UK
Music and Fieldwork: Observation in Cultural Studies Symposium (Apr 24, 2012)

Dealing with interdisciplinary subject involves operating within an array of scientific disciplines related to the search for other life in the universe. To grasp the ‘other/alien life’ topic involved thinking outside the box but at the same time required development of a solid theoretical and methodological framework. The paper describes the fieldwork experience and how the ‘insider/outsider’ approached the field of ethnographic research from within own culture.


Poster: The Other Life Imagined – Societal Readiness and Detection Response

NASA Astrobiology Science Conference AbSciCon 2012, USA
Exploring Life: Past and Present, Near and Far. Societal Impact of Discovering Extraterrestrial Life Posters (Apr 17, 2012)

The paper will present examples from visual culture and scientific documentaries in order to demonstrate how the popular culture adapted the other life idea and how the presupposed other life is perceived and reproduced. In conclusion, in the multiplicity of scenarios, emerging global culture and subsequently in the nascent identity of the 21st century Earth citizen, lays the answer to the key question of this paper: Are we ready to accept the existence of extraterrestrial life?


Voices from the Universe

Durham University, Ustinov College, UK
The Ustinov College Seminar ‘Voices’ (Jan 29, 2012)

The paper is based on the findings of my PhD 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 draws from the ethnographic fieldwork conducted over two years in the UK that combined interviews with scientists (astrobiologists, physicists, and astronomers) with data collected from the global ‘online’ community. On the base of this data, the paper offers an insight into the current concepts of other life as understood, perceived, and interpreted by the scientific community and popular culture.

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