Skip to main content

The Jack '76 and Carol '76 Kramer Endowed Lectureship 

Dr. Adam Frank, Astrophysicist Adam Frank

Postponed to GREAT Day 2021

"Light of the Stars: Seeing Climate Change and the Human Future in Our Universe Awash in Worlds"

We humans, with our “project of civilization” are a kind of cosmic teenager.  We have power over ourselves, and the planet, but no model to follow. In this talk Prof Frank shows how our fate can best be understood in light of the stars. Thanks to the revolutionary field of astrobiology, we have discovered that we are just one of ten billion trillion habitable planets in the Universe.  Unless the laws of the universe are deeply biased against life and intelligence, it’s highly improbable that we are the first project of civilization in cosmic history. So, what then can we learn from the others that have almost certainly existed? 

Unpacking the exploration of our solar system and beyond, Prof Frank shows how we have already learned universal “laws of planets”.  With this new view we can tell how life (including the intelligent kind) and its host worlds can evolve together.  From microbes generating Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere to the discovery of Venus’ runaway greenhouse effect, we can now lay out the contours of what happened here and what may happen elsewhere.  With this “10,000 light-year” view we gain a new story of our future on a changing Earth.  It's a narrative rich with both hope and caution. 

Reception and book signing at 4:45, College Union Ballroom. Bookstore will have books available for purchase.

About Dr. Adam Frank, Astrophysicist, "Evangelist of Science", University of Rochester

Astrophysicist Adam Frank is a leading expert on the final stages of evolution for stars like the sun.  His computational research group at the University of Rochester has developed advanced supercomputer tools for studying how stars form and how planets evolve. His current work also focuses on life in the Universe, the search for “technosignatures” of other exo-civilizations along with climate change and the “Astrobiology of the Anthropocene”.

A self-described “evangelist of science,” he is committed to showing others the beauty and power of science, and exploring the proper context of science in culture. His last book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth received praise from the New York Times, NPR and Scientific American.  He has written two other books, The Constant Fire: Beyond the Religion and Science Debate, and About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang

Adam is a regular on-air commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered. He was co-founder of National Public Radio 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog which ran for 7 years and garnered tens of millions of distinct views. He also and a contributor to the New York Times, The Atlantic and other media outlets.

Adam was also the science consultant for Marvel’s Dr. Strange. Adam has appeared on many popular media outlets such as the Joe Rogan show (2 million views:, Coast to Coast Radio and others. He has been a appeared on a variety of national and international science documentaries such Mars (season 2) from National Geographic and The Universe on the History Channel.

Example Footage: NPR mini-documentary

Twitter: @adamfrank4