Dr. Matthews is Mission Scientist leading the Canadian Space Agency's MOST project, and a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. Prof. Matthews is a world-leading expert in the fields of stellar seismology, exoplanetary science, and astronomical instrumentation and time series analysis. Prof. Matthews' media adventures include frequent appearances on CBC TV and Radio, CTV, Global, CNN, CityTV, The Knowledge Network, Shaw TV, and Space: The Imagination Station, as well as playing himself ("Jaymie" Rocket Scientist) in a national Fountain Tire television ad campaign. Dr. Matthews posed in multiple guises (from a microwave repair man to an X-ray version of Austin Powers) in the Discovery Channel documentary series "Light: More Than Meets The Eye", and as himself in the documentary "LUNARCY!" which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. He has yet to live down being quoted in Discover Magazine as saying "Exploding Star Contains Atoms from Elvis Presley's Brain - Scientists Confirm the King of Rock & Roll Lived in Another Galaxy 170,000 Years Ago! Water is important to all of us, but it has recently become especially exciting to astronomers hunting for alien worlds. We are now finding planets that orbit in the "habitable zones" around their parent stars. In astro-exoplanetary-science-speak, "habitable zone" translates as "the range of distances from a star where the temperature at a planet's surface is between 0 and 100 C." Think of it as a Goldilocks zone, where the planet is not too hot, not too cold, but "just right" for liquid water oceans to exist. Water alone does not equal life. But "no water" equals "no life" as we know it. That equation applies not just on alien worlds, but on our home world as well. We can not experiment with the global environment (or at least we should not) and astronomers can not experiment with conditions on other planets. But we're finding planets with conditions that astound even science fiction writers. Those extreme alien environments will help us refine models of how the Earth responds to change.
How do we search for exoplanets and what have we found so far? What can you expect in the next few years... indeed, in the next few months? What lessons can a student of global sustainability learn from a rocket scientist.
May 21, 2013 at 6:30pm
Round House Community Center - 181 Roundhouse Mews