The 5 video clips that make up the full lecture.
About the speaker
Guillermo Gonzalez is an Associate Professor of Physics at Grove City College. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1993 from the University of Washington. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin and at the University of Washington and has received fellowships, grants and awards from such institutions as NASA, the University of Washington, the Templeton Foundation, Sigma Xi (scientific research society) and the National Science Foundation.
Here’s part 1 of 5:
And the rest are here:
- What is the Copernican Principle?
- Is the Earth’s suitability for hosting life rare in the universe?
- Does the Earth have to be the center of the universe to be special?
- How similar to the Earth does a planet have to be to support life?
- What is the definition of life?
- What are the three minimal requirements for life of any kind?
- Requirement 1: A molecule that can store information (carbon)
- Requirement 2: A medium in which chemicals can interact (liquid water)
- Requirement 3: A diverse set of chemical elements
- What is the best environment for life to exist?
- Our place in the solar system: the circumstellar habitable zone
- Our place in the galaxy: the galactic habitable zones
- Our time in the universe’s history: the cosmic habitable age
- Other habitability requirements (e.g. – metal-rich star, massive moon, etc.)
- The orchestration needed to create a habitable planet
- How different factors depend on one another through time
- How tweaking one factor can adversely affect other factors
- How many possible places are there in the universe where life could emerge?
- Given these probabilistic resources, should we expect that there is life elsewhere?
- How to calculate probabilities using the “Product Rule”
- Can we infer that there is a Designer just because life is rare? Or do we need more?
The corelation between habitability and measurability.
- Are the habitable places in the universe also the best places to do science?
- Do the factors that make Earth habitable also make it good for doing science?
- Some places and times in the history of the universe are more habitable than others
- Those exact places and times also allow us to make scientific discoveries
- Observing solar eclipses and structure of our star, the Sun
- Observing stars and galaxies
- Observing the cosmic microwave background radiation
- Observing the acceleration of the universe caused by dark matter and energy
- Observing the abundances of light elements like helium of hydrogen
- These observations support the big bang and fine-tuning arguments for God’s existence
- It is exactly like placing observatories on the tops of mountains
- There are observers existing in the best places to observe things
- This is EXACTLY how the universe has been designed for making scientific discoveries
This lecture was delivered by Guillermo Gonzalez in 2007 at the University of California at Davis.