Making the case for life on other planets

June 15, 2016

How can we calculate the likelihood of technological civilizations having existed on other planets? That’s a question Adam Frank, professor of astronomy, considers in an essay, “Yes, There Have Been Aliens,” published in the New York Times.

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Catching some gamma rays in central Mexico

June 10, 2016

Physicist Segev BenZvi and scientists at an ambitious observatory are using simple but groundbreaking tools understand the workings of cosmic and gamma rays in the Earth’s atmosphere while also contributing to the search for dark matter.

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What makes America (and civilization) great

June 7, 2016

Astronomy professor Adam Frank traces the “line from [Ellis] Chesbrough’s audacious plan to make Chicago a clean, functioning city 150 years ago and the invisible infrastructures hiding behind your cell phone” today. /NPR.org

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Are we alone? Setting some limits to our uniqueness

April 27, 2016

Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question– summed up in the famous Drake equation–has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science. But a new paper shows that the recent discoveries of exoplanets combined with a broader approach to the question makes it possible to assign a new empirically valid probability to whether any other advanced technological civilizations have ever existed.

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A new way to determine the age of stars?

March 22, 2016

Rochester researchers have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding how stars similar to our Sun evolve. Their framework helps explain how the rotation of stars, their emission of x-rays, and the intensity of their stellar winds vary with time. According to Eric Blackman, professor of physics and astronomy, the work could also “ultimately help to determine the age of stars more precisely than is currently possible.”

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Rochester scientist discovers new comet

March 4, 2016

David Cameron, a visiting scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has discovered a new comet – the first to be discovered by an astronomer associated with the University or with the Rochester area in over a century, his colleagues believe.

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