Warp Drive and Aliens: The Scientific Perspective

Speaker: Professor Bryan Gaensler
Date: Sunday, June 24
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Venue: Artscape Sandbox

Science fiction and science are both wondrous and inspiring, albeit in very different ways. At its best, science fiction asks profound questions about the human condition. In contrast, science asks – and often answers – even more profound questions about the very nature of matter, space and time.

I am both a professional astrophysicist and a science-fiction fan, and sometimes my two great passions converge. Specifically, two of the ever-present themes explored in both fact and fiction are the prospect of journeying to other stars, and the possibility of life on other worlds. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the latest thinking on interstellar travel and on the search for alien life. The remarkable frontiers of current research provide a rich canvas to tell stories of our place in the cosmos.

Bryan Gaensler

Bryan Gaensler

Director, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto

Professor Bryan Gaensler is the Director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, and is the Canadian Science Director for the billion-dollar Square Kilometre Array project. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 1998, and subsequently held positions at MIT, the Smithsonian, Harvard and Sydney, before taking up his current role in 2015.

Gaensler has authored more than 350 scientific papers on cosmic magnetism, neutron stars, supernovae and interstellar gas while his popular astronomy book Extreme Cosmos has been translated into six languages. He tweets as @SciBry on astronomy, rugby, and science-fiction.