Expanding Worldviews: Astrobiology, Big History and Cosmic Perspectives

This conference, organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, will be held in London on 19 and 20 September 2019.

Astrobiology and Big History are two relatively new intellectual disciplines, the former focussed on searching for life elsewhere in the universe and the latter on integrating human history into the wider history of the cosmos. Despite some differences in emphasis these two disciplines share much in common, not least their interdisciplinarity and the cosmic and evolutionary perspectives that they both engender.

This meeting is held under the auspices of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the UCL/Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Sciences and the Birkbeck Centre for Legal Futures (formerly the Centre for Critical Study of European Law). It will provide a forum for discussing the relationships between Astrobiology and Big History, with an emphasis on their wider intellectual and societal benefits. It will build on an earlier meeting, Expanding Worldviews I, that was held at the Australian National University in July 2018 (a summary of which can be found here).

Confirmed speakers include:Stephen Baxter (SF author): ‘The visibility of big history’; Andreas Bummel (Democracy without Borders): ‘The political implications of a planetary worldview’; Klara Capova (European Space Agency): Title TBC; Lewis Dartnell (Westminster University): ‘How the world made us’; David Dunér (Lund University): ‘Extraterrestrial life and the human mind’; Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck): ‘From clean energy to climate change: Early martian literary utopias, 1877-1964’; Olivia Judson (Imperial College London/Freie Universität Berlin): Title TBC; Tony Milligan (King’s College, London): ‘Astrobiology and the outer limits of human ethics’; Annahita Nezami: ‘The psychology of the “Overview Effect” – What lies beneath?’; Esther Quaedackers (University of Amsterdam): ‘How understanding the emergence of life and human culture can help us understand the development of AI’

This event is free to attend, book via Eventbrite here

You can download the provisional programme here

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