© Pint of Science, 2018. All rights reserved.
With every question about life on Earth that we find an answer to, we end up asking even more about how life could exist elsewhere. How many other planets are there? How many of them could sustain life? Would this life behave like us, should we be looking for oxygen, for water, for heat and light or something completely... alien? This evening will showcase the research of two of Cardiff's eminent researchers asking exactly these questions, and hoping to take you on a tour of the cosmos from the majesty of alien solar systems down to the DNA of synthetic life forms.
In Search of Other Worlds
Dr Chris North (Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University)
Over the last 20 years astronomers have found thousands of planets orbiting other stars. This requires a range of techniques that tease out the existence of such planets, often against the bright glow of the parent star. The range of planets found has been staggering, and we are getting closer to finding out what they might be like. Find out what an amazing variety of other worlds there are out there, and how we can start to imagine what they might really be like.
Life with Alternate Chemistries
Professor Nigel Richards (Professor, Biological Chemistry, Cardiff University)
There is no guarantee that life elsewhere in the Universe uses the same kind of chemistry as life on Earth, which complicates the development of tests to find it! Find out how synthetic biologists are designing new molecular structures that can be used to modify the DNA of bacteria. Not only do such molecules tell us about whether alternate biochemistries are possible on other worlds but they also enable us to obtain organisms that can be used in “sustainable” chemical synthesis and biocatalysis.