Astrobiology Initiative

UCSC Faculty Kick Off the Astrobiology Initiative

Astrobiology Initiative Kickoff

Befitting of the summer solstice, UCSC faculty convened to kick off the Astrobiology Initiative on June 21, 2019. This historic meeting brought together an interdisciplinary team of 22 faculty members representing a variety of departments on campus including Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology (METX), Ocean Sciences, Physics, Art, and Literature.  The search for evidence of life beyond Earth is one of the greatest challenges of our time and progress requires expertise from many areas of science, each with its own jargon.  “Talking to one another about shared goals can feel like learning a whole new language,” says Director Natalie Batalha, “which underscores the importance of this initiative.”  Why now?  Why UCSC?  Professor Batalha, formerly of NASA Ames Research Center and Project Scientist for the Kepler Mission, recounts the developments in exoplanet science over the last two decades as seen from a front-row seat to the discoveries that catalyzed the search for life. “UC Santa Cruz, with its world-class research and dedication to interdisciplinary thinking, is poised to make significant contributions.”  The name on the building says it all.