- Science project
- Action structure
- Education & Outreach
- Event Announcements
Many researchers who study the origins, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe (astrobiology) believe we are on the brink of one of the most important discoveries in human history. As NASA’s chief scientist recently announced: “I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” If so, humanity will soon confront a series of complex challenges that cannot be resolved without strong input from disciplines beyond the sciences. While NASA’s and the nascent European vision for astrobiology are far ranging and include broad questions about the future of life in the universe, these have so far received less attention than they deserve. SoCIA 2016 is designed to help address this deficit, fostering a wider conversation and perhaps even sowing the seeds for a new academic society. Some of the questions in need of further exploration include:
SoCIA 2016 is an off-year workshop of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) and as such seeks to bring together an group of younger scholars and senior figures in an intense yet informal exchange of ideas - participants will attend all presentations and there will be many opportunities for friendly interaction and discussion.
The workshop is open to any researcher in any discipline interested in applying their expertise to these kinds of broad questions. Those interested should submit abstracts of no more than 400 words to Dr. Kelly Smith (kcs [at ]clemson.edu) by June 1st, 2016. Graduate students and younger scholars are especially encouraged to submit and support is available to help make their attendance possible.
Dr. Steven J. Dick is an historian and astronomer, having served as Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress, Lindbergh Chair at the National Air and Space Museum, NASA Chief Historian, and Director of the NASA History Office. He is a prolific author, with 7 books and 13 edited volumes to his credit, many dealing with these aspects of astrobiology. His most recent book is The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth (Cambridge, 2016).
Dr. Sheyna Gifford is a physician and journalist, currently serving as Chief Medical Officer on NASA's Hi SEAS IV project, where she will spend a year living with a small group of researchers simulating an extended mission to Mars. Dr. Gifford has worked on the HESSI satellite at Space Science Laboratories, helped develop a Mars space suit design with the HEADS-UP Project, and served on the DEEP2 sky survey. She has conducted research in astrophysics, neuroscience and psychology at institutions including Berkeley, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Brown University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Southern California.
More information about the workshop can be found at http://kcs098.wix.com/socia.
Please direct any and all questions to the local organizer, Dr. Kelly Smith: kcs [at] clemson.edu.