CCA lecture to explore life beyond earth

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An upcoming lecture at the Community College of Aurora is set to shed some light on extra-terrestrial intelligence.

The Sherlin Lecture Series planned for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Fine Arts Building on CCA’s CentreTech campus is more than dry explanations about sidereal days and light years. Indeed, the title of the event pretty much sums it up: “Beyond UFOs: Is there Really Life Beyond Earth?”

The event is set to feature astronomer and author Jeffrey Bennett, a faculty member from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Bennett is set to tackle the question of intelligent life in space and offer some firsthand input about the search for microbial life beyond the earth. More fundamentally, he’ll drill down to the motives and reasons behind the human race’s fascination with extraterrestrial intelligence.

“There has been some really exciting work people have been doing in detecting planets beyond our solar system and trying to map out the conditions necessary for life,” CCA professor Victor Andersen said in a release. “If you were going to look in a universe, where would you look? Both biologists and astronomers tended to be kind of naïve before. We thought there were conditions life couldn’t possibly exist in, and on Earth, we’ve discovered that they do.”

Following the lecture on Friday night, visitors will also have access to the CCA Observatory. Built in 2008, the small structure on the west side of the school’s CentreTech campus includes a 14-inch Celestron telescope, and the school hosts public lectures and open houses throughout the year.

Bennett has plenty of experience and academic credits to back up his observations. The CU professor received a bachelor’s in biophysics from the University of California San Diego and a master’s and doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado. Bennett’s specialties include math and science education, and his résumé includes teaching more than 50 college courses.

Bennett’s credits also include creative work pulled from the right side of the brain. He authored a children’s book titled “Science Adventures with Max the Dog.”

“Beyond UFOs: Is there Really Life Beyond Earth?” will take at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 in room F100 at the Community College of Aurora CentreTech Campus’ Fine Arts Building, 16000 E. CentreTech Parkway. Admission is free. Information: ccaurora.edu