Cosmologist Martin Rees posits the question: What if human success on Earth determines life’s success in the universe? This program was recorded in collaboration with the Long Now Foundation, on August 2, 2010.
This program features visual aids. A complete video version is available at: http://fora.tv/2010/08/02/Martin_Rees_Lifes_Future_in_the_Cosmos
President of the Royal Society, England’s Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees brings a lifetime of cosmological inquiry to a crucial question: What if human success on Earth determines life’s success in the universe?
He thinks that civilization’s chances of getting out of this century intact are about 50-50. He is hopeful that extraterrestrial life already exists, but there’s no sign of it yet. But even if we are now alone, he notes that we may not even be the halfway stage of evolution.
There is huge scope for post-human evolution, so that "it will not be humans who watch the sun’s demise, 6 billion years from now. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae."
Appropriately, Rees’s Long Now talk was at the Chabot Space and Science Center in the hills above Oakland, in the planetarium.
Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal and also Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and at Leicester University.
After studying at the University of Cambridge, he held post-doctoral positions in the UK and the USA, before becoming a professor at Sussex University. In 1973, he became a fellow of King’s College and Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge (continuing in the latter post until 1991) and served for ten years as director of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003 he was a Royal Society Research Professor.
Stewart Brand is a co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network, founded and runs the GBN Book Club, and is the president of The Long Now Foundation.