Lots of colleges, especially now, have gotten into free online lectures. MIT has the most,
has the most that are easily accessible, but Yale has the nicest format. They also
have a course called Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics, which is
The last lecture is an awesome sort of culmination of the whole lecture and brings up a lot of topics all wrapped in issues of space exploration, aliens, and even alternate dimensions of a sort. He – Professor Bailyn – begins by talking about an earth-like planet discovered in 2007 and analyzes the features of the planet through calculations. It’s a pretty neat and direct way to understand what makes an Earth-like planet Earth-like.
Bailyn then moves on to theories about extraterrestrial life, and how likely it is. Any study of that particular question involves moving past the bias we have about terrestrial life as we know it. We might often think that our kind of biological life is formed to exist in this universe and that this is somehow significant, but it’s not; it merely means that no other form of life could exist (or is known to exist), so ours was this universe’s default.
In any other universe, any other form of life – or maybe even ours, again – will be the default.
Speaking of other universes, this is where the science beyond science kicks in. There are various theories that what we now consider the laws of physics might be breaking down. There are other theories that black holes spur new universes, black holes which are created by stars.
And ours may or may not be the original universe.
These are just the basics of what the lectures go into, and the details of the interlocking possibilities of the alternate universe, other alien theory are all in the lecture. (And there are 23 other really decent lectures to listen to.
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Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.