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Public Outreach

The Birth, Life and Death of our Planet...... and of the Universe.


Dr. Charley Lineweaver

Associate Professor
Planetary Science Institute
Australian National University


People, planets, stars and even universes are born, they live for a while and then die. I will review what we know about the origin of the earth and the origin of the life on it -- the coming extinction of this life and the death of the Earth and Sun. The second law of thermodynamics is relevant to the birth and death of the universe. I will try to explain why. The main goal of the lecture is to paint a picture of how we got here and how we fit into the universe.


An astrophysicist, Charles H. Lineweaver is an associate professor at the Australian National University's Planetary Science Institute (PSI). His research involves analysis of the statistical distribution of exoplanets, the cosmic microwave background radiation, and cosmological prerequisites for the formation of terrestrial planets and life. Educated at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universitat in Munich where he was awarded highest honors in physics, Dr. Lineweaver earned a BA in history from the State University of New York at Binghamton, an MA in English from Brown University, a BS is physics from Ludwig Maximillian's University in Munich, and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. He was a member of the COBE satellite team, led by George Smoot (2006 Physics Nobel Prize), that discovered the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Observatoire Astronomique in Strasbourg and, successively, a vice chancellor's postdoctoral research fellow and Australian Research Council (ARC) fellow at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) where he taught one of the most popular general studies courses "Are We Alone?"