‘Alternative Earths’ Is Topic of Free Public Lecture

Biogeochemist Timothy Lyons of UC Riverside will give the talk on campus Oct. 15

Early Earth

Artist concept of an early Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – What would Earth look like if analyzed remotely over its long history? Specifically, what information about the tectonic, biotic, and extra-planetary processes that have combined to sustain Earth’s dynamic habitability over billions of years could we glean if we had snapshots of our evolving planet?

The public has an opportunity to find out on Thursday, Oct. 15, when at 7 p.m. Timothy Lyons, a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, will give a free lecture titled “Alternative Earths? What Our Planet’s History May Tell Us About Life in the Universe.”

The hour-long lecture will take place on campus in Room A265, Bourns Hall.

“Earth’s rock record provides a means to tackle this question via an array of diverse windows into past states of inhabitation—what we can think of as ‘Alternative Earths.’ These diverse Earth states are informing NASA’s search for life elsewhere in our solar system and on extra-solar planets far beyond,” Lyons said.

Recently, researchers at UCR were selected to share a $50 million grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute to analyze Earth’s history and its first production of oxygen to help identify other life in our solar system and beyond. Lyons leads the “Alternative Earths” team.

Timothy Lyons is a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry at UC Riverside. Photo credit: Sarah Simpson.

Timothy Lyons is a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry at UC Riverside. Photo credit: Sarah Simpson.

At UCR, his primary research themes are astrobiology, marine geochemistry, geobiology, biogeochemical cycles through time, and Earth history and paleoclimatology. His career-long interests in anoxic marine environments, early atmospheric oxygenation, and co-evolving life have inspired the development and refinement of diverse geochemical tracers in modern settings for exploration of the ancient ocean and atmosphere and the search for life beyond Earth.

On the UCR faculty since 2005, he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

His lecture is the first in a series of new lectures – “Cosmic Thursdays” – at UCR. The next lecture in the series, tentatively titled “Using Ancient Lipid Biomarkers Preserved in Rocks and Petroleum to Track the Evolution of Life,” will be given by Gordon Love on Nov. 12.

Parking information can be found here. Parking Lot 10 is recommended.

For more information about Lyons’s talk or Cosmic Thursdays, please email mariodlw@ucr.edu or astrobiology@ucr.edu.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Additional Contacts

Mario De Leo Winkler
Tel: (951) 255-9706
E-mail: mariodlw@ucr.edu

Sarah Simpson
E-mail: astrobiology@ucr.edu

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