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Friday 24 Mar 2023Through a Mirror, Earthly: Solaris, Gaia, and the Search for Habitable Worlds

Emma Puranen - University of St Andrews

Newman Purple LT, Streatham Campus 15:00-16:30

Stanistaw Lem's 1961 science fiction novel Solaris tells of a team of
scientists struggling to understand and communicate with
planetwide consciousness that takes the form of a living ocean on an
exoplanet. Writing during the Space Race, Lem taps into humanity's
growing awareness of the Earth as a planet, and advocates for a
Gaia-esque interdisciplinarity and interconnectedness to overcome
some of the perils of Earth-centrism in science. The planetary view
espoused by both Solaris and Gaia encourages an interdisciplinary
understanding of Earth and all its systems, to include human ones.
This vision is being played out in modern exoplanet science, with its
frequent study of the Earth as an analog in preparation for more data
on distant exoplanets, and its ongoing awareness of the sample size
problem in the search for universal biology.

Please register at
The talk will be recorded and available to
watch on the GSl's Youtube page after the event.

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