Museum open Wed–Mon, Sea Center open daily; both 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Free Astronomy Talk: The Race to Find Life in the Universe

At the Museum | Fleischmann Auditorium

April 12, 2024 / 7:30 PM–9:00 PM

A few decades ago, scientists mostly treated the idea of searching for life in the universe as a slightly disreputable field only pursued by a few iconoclasts. Now, the search for life outside of Earth is a major focus of research in astronomy. Learn about the paths that give real promise of being able to find (or conclusively not find) life beyond the Earth, during a free in-person talk presented by the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit. Dave Kary, Ph.D., will compare the different ways astronomers look for alien life, and give his perspective on which approaches have the best chance of succeeding.

Dr. Kary attended the University of British Columbia where he earned a B.Sc. in astronomy and geophysics, doing research on Jupiter's Galilean moons. He then went to the State University of New York at Stony Brook to get a Ph.D. in astrophysics, where his research included work on how solar systems form. In the 1990s he moved to Santa Barbara to do research and teach at UCSB. He also spent two years as planetarium director here at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. While in Santa Barbara, Kary met and married Joann Eisberg, a historian of astronomy who has since transformed herself into an astronomy teacher. In 1999 they moved to the San Gabriel Valley where Kary started working at Citrus College as a full-time astronomy instructor while Eisberg did the same at Chaffey Community College. Over the years they have made critical thinking, hands-on experiments and observations, and student-student interaction important parts of their astronomy classes, whether in-person or online.

Please note that this astronomy talk takes place at the Museum in the Courtyard Gallery (currently showing Images of Infinity).

No tickets or reservations required. Questions? Contact Astronomy Programs Manager John Winckowski at or 805-682-4711 ext. 164.

Illustration of exoplanet K2-18 b by NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScl)