Sunday, July 3, 2016

Our Astronomy Lecture Series Has a Million Views on YouTube

As regular readers may know, I have the pleasure of organizing and moderating a series of public talks at my college called the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we are able to record, edit, and publish each talk on YouTube (now in High Definition). Yesterday, the counter at our YouTube channel passed one million views of the lectures from around the world!
Recent speakers have included Carolyn Porco, imaging team leader for the Cassini mission to Saturn; Robert Kirshner of Harvard and Alex Filippenko of Berkeley, both members of the teams that discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that the expansion of the universe is accelerating; Caleb Scharf of Columbia, explaining his book, "The Copernicus Complex," about humanity’s place in the cosmos; astronaut Ed Lu about discovering asteroids that threaten the Earth; and NASA’s Jeff Moore, from the New Horizons science team, explaining what we have discovered about Pluto this year.
Older lectures include Frank Drake explaining his current thinking about the Drake equation, Michael Brown (who discovered many of the Pluto-like dwarf planets out there) discussing "How I Killed Pluto...," Leonard Susskind on his battle with Stephen Hawking over black holes, and Helen Quinn on the mysteries of antimatter.
You can enjoy all the videos, free of charge or advertising, at:
Even an astronomer like me, used to big numbers, is kind of impressed by a million views! I'm glad there are so many fans of astronomy out there. Or maybe, when people think about what's happening in the country and in the world right now, their thought have to escape into the larger universe to stay sane!


  1. Is it possible for life to be an unintended consequence of our Universe?


    I'm working on a theory for some time in trying to combine science with religion, looking for an answer to the question "What is the purpose of life in Creation?" Finally thanks to science and space exploration in the universe, we got all to agree on the fact that we are not the only planet that is hosting life. Einstein studied very much the universe, we know it all and came to the conclusion that it is too big and too complex, not be governed by something like a higher energy "From nothing you can not do something he was saying" Big Bang could not be created from nothing so simply out of nowhere and give rise to a complex mechanism so full of laws that creates (suns, planets, solar systems etc etc)In my opinion something above our understanding govern, lead, use, observe the universe,So helped by logic I suppose that we have solved one of the mysteries of mankind.

    Of course, as in any mechanism at some point unpredictable errors may occur. From here starts a series of questions more or less strange ..

    It is possible that life to be just an error in our Universe?
    The existence of life be allowed, because we can not affect, interact with the true purpose of the universe?In conclusion we feed from details provided by religion,religious books etc Living just a big illusion, (Heaven, hell, afterlife, judgment day etc) ?? When the Great Architect actually has nothing to do with us?I ask you now, there is perfection? Universe,Creation itself is perfect?
    If yes, then my theory is wrong.

    Or He sent (prophets like Abraham, Solomon, Jesus, Mohammed, etc.) on all habitable planets in the entire universe possible multiverse?From here another series of questions that lead always other and other questions.

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