Rag Radio: Searching for Extraterrestrial Life with Astronomers Dr. Neal Evans and Dr. Cecilia Colomé

RAG RADIO welcomes Astronomers Neal Evans and Cecilia Colome. Dr. Evans, a pioneer in the study of star formation, has served as a mentor to younger generations of astronomers.

Dr. Neal Evans and Dr. Cecilia Colomé. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

We search for extraterrestrial life with preeminent American astronomer Dr. Neal J. Evans, UT-Austin professor emeritus. Joining in the discussion is Austin astronomer Dr. Cecilia Colomé.

Evans, who has served as a mentor to younger generations of astronomers, is a recognized pioneer in the study of how stars form in our galaxy — and how planets form around them. The quest for extraterrestrial life primarily involves searching for stars that are somewhat similar to ours and planets that might have conditions close to those on Earth.

Dr. Neal Evans earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and did a year and a half of post-doctoral work at Caltech before coming to Texas. Although initially interested in high-energy and particle physics, he shifted his focus to astrophysics and worked with a research group started at Berkeley by Nobel laureate Charles Townes. Evans joined The University of Texas faculty in 1975, where he taught for 40 years, including classes about the search for extraterrestrial life, and a seminar on the origin of the Universe and life. He was the Randall Centennial Professor of Astronomy before becoming an Emeritus Professor in Sept. 2016. Evans has led large groups in programs on both the Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes, studying the formation of stars and planet-forming disks. He is a member of the ALMA Board. ALMA is the world’s largest radio observatory.

Dr. Cecilia ColomĂ© has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. As a graduate student, Cecilia took several courses taught by Dr. Neal Evans. Cecilia and Dr. Evans carried out numerous infrared observations on board NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory, and at McDonald Observatory in West Texas. Cecilia currently works in Austin as an editor of math and science textbooks.

ragradio250x250Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, is streamed live at Radio Free America, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: ragradio@koop.org.



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