This past weekend, emergence@asu grad student Tessa Fisher attended the First Annual Women in Planetary Science and Exploration (WPSE) Conference in Toronto, Canada. The conference was divided into two parts: technical sessions and panel discussions about issues faced by women in STEM such as harassment, the experience of women of color, jobs outside of academia and more. Tessa presented her research on network biosignatures in the "Outer Solar System and Beyond" technical session and moderated the panel on LGBT+ issues in STEM; both were extremely well-received. She described the conference as a fabulous success, and, as it so happens, the next one will be hosted by ASU in 2019!
Three emergence@asu undergrads, Coral Ruiz, Angelica Berner and Kevin White, presented their research at the recent NASA Space Grant Poster session held on the ASU tempe campus on 2/14!
Below left: Coral Ruiz shows off her poster with Prof. Sara Walker. Below right: Angelica Berner and Coral Ruiz with their space grant posters!
Paul Davies was recently part of a panel discussion hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences titled "A Touch of Awe: Crafting Meaning from the Wonder of the Cosmos". Along with Paul, the event hosted panelists Ard Louis (theoretical physicist) and Lucianne Walkowicz (astrophysicist). The panel used their expertise to explain the state of modern cosmology and the nature of reality in order to examine the question of why we are here. If anyone is uniquely qualified to speculate on such matters, surely it is Paul.
To rewatch the livestream, click here.
Graduate students Dylan and Hikaru attended an immersive two-week winter school hosted by the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo. This interdisciplinary program aimed to address the following questions:
At the winter school, attendees went on a 4-day field excursion throughout the Izu Peninsula to learn about the unique geology of Japan and how this geologic system, where subducting oceanic plates give rise to volcanic hot springs, may be a plausible analog for how life first emerged. Dylan and Hikaru heard lectures on a range of topics relevant to the origin of life including Prebiotic Chemistry and Large Deviation Theory. In addition, they participated in a research groups focusing on exoplanets (Dylan) and microbiology (Hikaru).
In addition to being an excellent scientist, Tessa is likely the world's only proud and out trans lesbian astrobiologist. Recently, she got the chance to share her empowering story during an interview with Sparky's Rainbow - a group highlighting the LGBTQ community at ASU. Tessa candidly shares her experience here at ASU and her perspective on a variety of topics. As always, we are incredibly proud!
Be sure to check out the full interview here.
Emergence@ASU team members Tessa Fisher, Harrison Smith and Sara Walker co-authored a white paper for the National Academies of Sciences Study: Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life on "Life Beyond the Solar System: Remotely Detectable Biosignatures". You can read the full white paper here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.06714
Recently, Paul gave a lecture at the Mt. Stromlo Observatory in Australia titled "Are We Alone in the Universe". This lecture was designed to bring the public up to date with the current state of exoplanet science (i.e. they are everywhere) and what this means in terms finding extraterrestrial life. Paul addressed the difficulty of finding life without understanding the transition from non-life to life, as well as future ways to search for cosmic company. This lecture, as with all of Paul's recent work, stresses the importance of our group’s research in answering whether or not we are alone in the universe.
We are pleased to announce emergence@asu postdoc Gabri recently won the School of Life Sciences (SOLS) Innovative Post-doctoral Research Award! His project with Marek Borowiec, titled ‘Flexible Deep Learning Solutions for Digitized Biodiversity Data’ leverages deep neural networks to automatically recognize the genus and species of ant specimen from one or more pictures. Congrats Gabri!!
Sara Imari Walker