Are We Alone in the Universe?

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
July 25, 2023 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Mario Livio, Ph.D., served as a distinguished Hubble Space Telescope astrophysicist for 24 years, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a prize-winning author and also a popular speaker.

In this discussion, based on his 2023 Scientific American article (How Far Should We Take Our Cosmic Humility?), Dr. Livio explains how developments in astronomy have altered our sense of human uniqueness. He describes the “Copernican Principle” that has led to the scientific expectation of other intelligent life in the universe –and indeed, the sense that there might even be multiple universes. But scientists have also discovered that the conditions necessary for complex life may be rare. Here, we learn what we might expect.

Mario Livio has published more than 500 scientific articles. He has made significant theoretical contributions to topics ranging from cosmology, supernova explosions, and black holes to extrasolar planets and the emergence of life in the universe. He has received numerous awards for his research.

Dr. Livio is also the author of seven popular science books. His bestselling book The Golden Ratio won the Peano Prize in 2003 and the International Pythagoras Prize in 2004, as the best popular book on mathematics. His book Is God A Mathematician? inspired the NOVA program “The Great Math Mystery,” which was nominated for an EMMY in 2016. His book Brilliant Blunders was selected by The Washington Post as one of the Notable Books of 2013. His book Galileo and the Science Deniers (2020) was one of the finalists for the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.

Dr. Livio appears frequently in the media, including “The Daily Show,” “60 Minutes,” and multiple NOVA programs, as well as numerous radio programs such as “Science Friday,” “All Things Considered,” “On Being,” and “Studio 360."

Recent articles by Mario Livio