'Search for life in the Universe: the exoplanet revolution' Guest lecture by Professor Didier Queloz, University of Cambridge, Nobel Prize in Physics 2019
The Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool is delighted to welcome this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Didier Queloz, to deliver the annual Barkla Lecture 2019.
Professor Queloz's talk 'Search for life in the Universe: the exoplanet revolution' will explain and explore his award winning work. The Exoplanet collection identified over the last 25 years ranges from massive and big planets, like our own Jupiter, to smaller denser objects like the Earth. Considering this rich and stimulating landscape the talk will address how likely we may eventually detect life on exoplanets.
Professor Queloz will introduce the audience to exoplanet diversity. He will describe what we have learnt about their structure and their formation history. Based on recent works about the origin of life on Earth, he will present new perspectives about the minimum conditions required to allow for the formation of life's chemical building blocks. He will describe two different approaches aiming at detecting Earth like systems amenable for future work about the origins of life.
Professor Didier Queloz was at the origin of the ”exoplanet revolution” in astrophysics when in 1995, during his PhD with his supervisor, they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star outside the solar system. This seminal discovery has spawned a revolution in astronomy and kick started the field of exoplanet research.
Over the next 25 years, Professor Queloz's scientific contributions have essentially been to make progress in detection and measurement capabilities of exoplanet systems with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure to better understand their formation and evolution by comparison with our solar system. More recently he is directing his activity to the detection of Earth like planets and Universal life. In the course of his career he developed astronomical equipment, new observational approaches and detection algorithms. He participated and conducted programs leading to the detection of hundreds of planets, include breakthrough results. Professor Queloz is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He has participated in numerous documentaries, movies, articles, TV and radio interviews to share excitement and promote interest for science in general and particularly topics about exoplanets and life in the Universe.
Professor Didier Queloz has been jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Professor James Peebles and Professor Michel Mayor for their pioneering advances in physical cosmology, and the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
The annual Barkla lecture is in honour of Charles Glover Barkla, who studied Mathematics before specialising in Physics, at the University of Liverpool.
Barkla was awarded the Hughes Medal of the British Royal Society and the Nobel prize for Physics in 1917, for his discovery of the characteristic X-ray of elements.
This event is part of the University's programme of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landings.