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Geoff Marcy speaks at UCOP Friday, March 16

The President’s Speaker Series continues on Friday, March 16, 12 to 1 p.m., in  Franklin Lobby One with Geoff Marcy, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy and director of Berkeley’s Center for Integrative Planetary Science.

In his talk, entitled “The Hunt for Another Earth,” Marcy will discuss his research on the discovery and characterization of Earth-size planets around other stars.

Marcy is co-investigator of the NASA Kepler space telescope, which detects planets from the dimming of starlight when planets cross in front of their host star. More than 2000 planets have been identified, providing the orbital distances and sizes of the planets.

The goal is to measure the densities of the planets, to distinguish truly rocky planets similar to Earth from the gas giant planets like Jupiter. Such measurements will tell us how common other Earth-size planets are in the Milky Way Galaxy. Biologists are also working with astronomers to assess the environmental conditions necessary for life, especially intelligent life, on planets elsewhere in the universe.

An elected member of both the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2002) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2010), Marcy also received the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization in 2009 and was named California Scientist of the Year in 2000, among many other honors and distinctions. He has published more than 400 papers.

The President’s Speaker Series, “On California,” was initiated by President Mark Yudof last September to showcase the talent and public contributions of UC faculty, alumni and other prominent Californians doing groundbreaking work in the areas of education, policy/politics and research.

Yudof’s goal is to bring examples of the kind of research, innovation and intellectual exploration that occurs every day on UC campuses to OP’s Franklin Building offices, so UCOP staff can get a firsthand view of the great work UC faculty and alumni are doing to address the big issues facing the state and nation.

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