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Jodrell astronomer probes extra terrestrial life

01 Dec 2008

The hunt for extra terrestrial life will be the topic of a public lecture by renowned Jodrell Bank astronomer Prof Ian Morison later this week.

Prof Ian Morison
Prof Ian Morison

Prof Morison from Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at The University of Manchester will deliver a lecture entitled ‘Searching for Life Beyond the Solar System’.

Professor Morison, who is the current Gresham Professor of Astronomy, will discuss the possibility that intelligent civilisations – perhaps similar to our own – may exist on other planets. He will also look the attempts, both past and present, to search for extra terrestrial life.

Current SETI searches had their origins in 1959 when Guiseppi Cocconi and Philip Morrison published an article in the science journal Nature in which they pointed out it would in principle be possible for civilisations to communicate across space using radio waves.

This opens up the possibility that astronomers may be able to eavesdrop on any such signals and secondly that another civilisation might be attempting to communicate with us.

Prof Morison’s eagerly anticipated lecture comes hot on the heels of the release of his new book, ‘Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology’, a modern and highly illustrated undergraduate textbook, combining both the theory behind astronomy with the very latest developments.

Prof Morison’s lecture is part of the Roscoe Penny series of lectures, run by the University’s public education arm, Courses For The Public.

The lecture takes place on Thursday 4 December 2008 at 7pm at The University of Manchester. Tickets cost £7 and places must be booked in advance by ringing 0161 275 3275.

Notes for editors

For more information please contact Alex Waddington, Media Relations Officer, 0161 275 8387.