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“Potential Habitable Worlds: How Common Are They?” is the Friedman Lecture on 30 October 2014

“Potential Habitable Worlds: How Common Are They?” is the Friedman Lecture on 30 October 2014

A free presentation titled ” Potential Habitable Worlds: How Common Are They?” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, 30 October, in 101 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The program will be presented by Ravi Kopparapu, a researcher in the Department of Geosciences at Penn State.

Kopparapu and his colleagues have been pursuing an answer to the question “Are we alone in the Universe?” using a variety of different approaches as part of the Penn State Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds and the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. In his talk, Kopparapu will outline his own work, which shows that potential habitable worlds are quite common in our Milky Way Galaxy.

“Dr. Kopparapu has been, for years now, sharing his excitement about the search for other Earths with students in the State College School District and participants who attend our AstroFest event each summer,” said Chris Palma, a senior lecturer of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. “His passion for this research area is very strong, and his presentations really inspire young people to see how fascinating science can be.”

Kopparapu began his career working with LIGO, the “Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.” He soon turned to studying planetary habitability as part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory team. He is directly involved in refining our understanding of the “Goldilocks Zone” — the region around stars where it is not too hot nor too cold for liquid water to be able to exist on a planet’s surface.

He received his undergraduate degree in electronics from Nagarjuna University in India in 1996 and his Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University in 2006.

This presentation is hosted by the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is funded largely by the Ronald M. and Susan J. Friedman Outreach Fund in Astronomy. Ronald Friedman is a member of the department’s Board of Visitors. For more information, contact Chris Palma at or 814-865-2255.

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