'Searching for Life in the Universe: the Exoplanet Revolution' Annual Barkla guest lecture by Didier Queloz

About this video

The Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool was delighted to welcome the 2019 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Didier Queloz, to deliver the annual Barkla Lecture 2019 'Searching for life in the Universe: the exoplanet revolution'.

Exoplanet collection identified over the last 25 years ranges from massive and big planets, like our own Jupiter, to smaller denser objects like the Earth. Considering this rich and stimulating landscape the talk asks how likely we may eventually detect life on exoplanets?

Professor Queloz introduced the audience to exoplanet diversity, describing what we have learnt about their structure and their formation history. Based on recent works about the origin of life on Earth, he presents new perspectives about the minimum conditions required to allow for the formation of lifes' chemical building blocks. He explores two different approaches aimed at detecting Earth like systems amenable for future work about the origins of life.

Professor Didier Queloz was at the origin of the ”exoplanet revolution” in astrophysics when in 1995, during his PhD with his supervisor, they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star outside the solar system. This seminal discovery has spawned a revolution in astronomy and kick started the field of exoplanet research.

Over the next 25 years, Professor Queloz's scientific contributions have essentially been to make progress in detection and measurement capabilities of exoplanet systems with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure to better understand their formation and evolution by comparison with our solar system. More recently he is directing his activity to the detection of Earth like planets and Universal life. In the course of his career he developed astronomical equipment, new observational approaches and detection algorithms. He participated and conducted programs leading to the detection of hundreds of planets, include breakthrough results. Professor Queloz is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He has participated in numerous documentaries, movies, articles, TV and radio interviews to share excitement and promote interest for science in general and particularly topics about exoplanets and life in the Universe.

Professor Didier Queloz has been jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Professor James Peebles and Professor Michel Mayor for their pioneering advances in physical cosmology, and the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

The Annual Barkla Lecture is held in honour of Professor Charles Glover Barkla, University of Liverpool Alumnus, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1917