An Introduction

Jun 20 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Hi there. Welcome. Please, come in and make yourself at home but try not to touch anything as this part of the internet is very expensive, and mostly still under construction. My name is Andrew and I’ll be your host for the next two weeks here at Scientopia’s Guest Blogge, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to regale you with wonderful tales of science, mystery and magic. Mainly science though, if I’m honest.

I am 23 years old, and I live in the lovely city of Norwich on the East coast of the United Kingdom. In October this year I will be starting a doctorate at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, an internationally recognised centre for climate, atmospheric and geographical sciences. In the meantime, I write about things that fascinate me over at my blog II-I-

My research will be in the field of geochemical modelling of extrasolar planets; their atmospheres, oceans and geology. Our repertoire of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, currently stands at 562 and is rapidly growing. A further 1235 planet candidates announced by NASA’s Kepler Mission early this year are currently under analysis and awaiting confirmation before their acceptance into the exoplanet league. This burgeoning discipline, at present comprised mainly of astronomers, is evolving rapidly with each new discovery. By adapting current geochemical and physical models applicable to the Earth, it may be possible to begin to resolve some of the complex interactions between the stellar and the planetary environment and bring exoplanet science very much within the reach of environmental scientists and geologists. Perhaps most importantly however, study of these planets may alter our understanding of the distribution of life and its perceived prerequisites in the universe. Is it possible that these planets could harbour life as it exists on Earth, or is the habitat of planet Earth unique?

Apart from my love of exoplanets, I’m also interested in the philosophy of science, how politics affects science and the development and implication of science policy, mainly here in the UK. In my spare time I enjoy cycling, gardening, playing the bass guitar and strategy computer games.

Thank you for reading; I hope that you’ll continue to do so, for the next two weeks at least! I’d like to leave you with an excellently made and humbling video by Reid Gower paying tribute to one of my scientific heroes, Carl Sagan, with excerpts from his excellent book, Pale Blue Dot. I feel that this video, and the rest in the series, epitomise the ability of science to provide sensible and objective perspective and humility without the need to resort to superstition or blind faith.

The Sagan Series: Chapter 3 - A Reassuring Fable


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