Thu, Jan 25|
Location is TBD
Life of the Mind Lecture: Karin Öberg on Theology and Astronomy (Open to the Public)
Time & Location
Jan 25, 2024, 7:00 PM
Location is TBD
This lecture is free and open to the public.
About the Seminar
Science and Theology of Extraterrestrial Worlds and Extraterrestrial Life
Are we alone? How can we find out and what does the answer mean for Christian belief? In past decades astronomers have gone from discovering the first planets outside of the solar system to characterizing how many planets there are in the galaxy and what these extraterrestrial planets are like. Excitingly a number of these planets appear to be hospitable to life, and this raises the question whether any of them are not just habitable worlds, but also inhabited ones. In this lecture we will look at some of the ways astronomers are addressing questions surrounding extraterrestrial life, including ongoing research into the compositions of exoplanets using some of the world’s most advanced telescopes. We will then explore how the possibility of different kinds of extraterrestrial life may impact the theology of creation, divine providence, and Christian salvation, and whether Christians should expect there to be extraterrestrial life.
Karin Öberg is professor of astronomy at Harvard University where she holds the Thomas Dudley Cabot Chair of the Natural Sciences. Her specialty is astrochemistry, and her research aims to uncover how chemical processes affect the outcome of planet formation, especially the habitability of nascent planets. Her research group approaches this question through laboratory experiments, theory, and astronomical observations of molecules in planet-forming disks around young stars. Professor Öberg has also been exploring the intersection of science and religion for the past few years in her Freshman seminar at Harvard. She serves on the board of the Society of Catholic Scientists, and is a frequent speaker for the Thomistic Institute and the Word of Fire Institute on questions related to science and faith.