Astronomy virtual meeting taps Kaltenegger for lecture

Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Carl Sagan Institute, will give the Fred Kavli Plenary Lecture on June 1 at the American Astronomical Society virtual meeting.

The society has announced that its 236th meeting, originally scheduled for May 31 to June 4 in Madison, Wisconsin, will instead be held June 1-3 online.

The society invites a lecturer to open each semiannual meeting with a presentation on recent research of great importance. Kaltenegger will talk about her work to characterize rocky exoplanets and identify life on other rocky worlds.

“Finding planets orbiting other stars has revolutionized our view of the cosmos,” Kaltenegger said. “For the first time in human history, we have the tools to figure out whether we are alone in the universe.”

Kaltenegger’s research focuses on the search for signs of life on planets orbiting stars other than the sun, and on characterizing rocky planets and super-Earths and their atmospheres in the habitable zone. Kaltenegger is also an expert in modeling potentially habitable worlds using Earth’s history and diverse biota as key.

Her work explores how telescopes currently being developed, including the James Webb Space Telescope, will be used to observe and identify biological activity on other worlds.

Kaltenegger has served on the National Science Foundation’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee, and on NASA’s senior review of operating missions, among other organizations.

Alisha Gupta ’20 is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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 Lisa Kaltenegger