In astrophysicist and NPR commentator Adam Frank’s book “Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth,” Frank looks at the existence of alien civilizations and tries to answer the question “what can the likely presence of life on other worlds tell us about our own fate?” Join Frank at the Jesup Memorial Library on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. for an author talk and book signing. He will also be in conversation with renowned science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson the next night on Thursday, July 11 at 7 p.m.
Frank tells the story of humanity’s coming of age as we awaken to the possibilities of life on other worlds and looks at their relevance to our fate on a climate-changed Earth. Frank traces the question of alien life and intelligence from the ancient Greeks to the leading thinkers of our own time, and shows how we as a civilization can only hope to survive climate change if we recognize what science has recently discovered: that we are just one of ten billion trillion planets in the Universe, and it’s highly likely that many of those planets hosted technologically advanced alien civilizations. What is more, each of those civilizations must have faced the same challenge of civilization-driven climate change.
In “Light of the Stars,” Frank also explores the work of pioneering scientists like Frank Drake and Carl Sagan, whose work at the dawn of the space age began building the new science of astrobiology; Jack James, the Texas-born engineer who drove NASA’s first planetary missions to success; Vladimir Vernadsky, the Russian geochemist who first envisioned the Earth’s biosphere; and James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, who invented Gaia Theory.
The Scientific American writes, “‘Light of the Stars’ provides a marvelous perspective on how astronomy could make us all better Earthlings.” And in their stared review Booklist adds, “[Frank is] knowledgeable, witty, irreverent, provocative, and very entertaining…[‘Light of the Stars’] offers solid science and lots of fun.”
Frank is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, where he studies the processes that shape the formation and death of stars and has become a leading expert on the final stages of evolution for stars like the sun. He is a theoretical/computational astrophysicist and he heads a research group that is developing new tools for simulating the cosmos. In addition, he is the co-founder of NPR’s “13.7: Cosmos and Culture” blog as well as a regular on-air commentator for All Things Considered. He also contributes occasionally to The New York Times. He served as the science consultant for Marvel Studio’s Dr. Strange.
Books will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor Sherman’s Books. For more information on Frank visit adamfrankscience.com and for more information on the talk contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245.