We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Water on the Earth and Beyond Public Lecture - Extra-solar Planets: liquid water and the habitable zone

2nd March 2010, 20:15 to 21:15, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College, Professor Martin Ward

This is the fifth Water on the Earth and Beyond Public Lecture.

The Habitable Zone (HZ)  is a region surrounding the orbit of a star, within which an Earth-like planet can maintain liquid water. In this talk I will give a brief account of historical ideas concerning the existence of life on planets other than the Earth. Then I will describe the efforts underway to first, discover and then study Earth-like planets.

Finally, I will indulge in some wild speculation regarding the chances of discovering life elsewhere in the Universe in the new future, and the consequences should this happen....

Water has a dramatic influence on the chemical and physical properties of natural materials, and so has played a central role in shaping our environment. Most importantly for us, it has dominated the evolution of our own planet and appears to have been essential for the emergence of life. These public lectures will cover a range of topics, starting with Earth based phenomena - water and volcanism and a better understanding of ocean processes - before moving on to cover extraterrestrial topics including water on Mars, a search for water frozen billions of years ago, and the importance of water in defining the "habitable zone" of extra-solar planetary systems.

For more information about this series please visit:

This public lecture is free and open to all to attend

Contact for more information about this event.