“The Copernicus Complex” by Dr. Caleb Scharf (Columbia University)
Dr. Caleb Scharf was born and educated in England. He received his B.Sc. in physics from Durham University, and his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Cambridge. He worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, and as a research scientist at Columbia University in New York. He is currently the director of the multidisciplinary Columbia Astrobiology Center.
Are we special or are we unexceptional? For the first time in human history we stand poised to begin to truly answer this question. Extraordinary discoveries in astronomy and biology have revealed a universe filled with dynamic and endlessly diverse planetary systems, and a picture of life as a phenomenon intimately linked with the most fundamental aspects of physics. But where this really leads us is not yet clear. It’s possible that we need to find a way to see past the mediocre status that Copernicus assigned to us 500 years ago, and to do that we need to come to grips with the latest scientific research from the microscopic to the cosmic.
The Natural Science and Mathematics Colloquium is sponsored by KBRwyle.