- June 28, 2018
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Comets are the oldest objects in the solar system, plucked 4.6 billion years ago from a massive, swirling cloud of gas and dust that went on to create the Sun and our entire solar system.
The list of ingredients contained in a comet is the same as that of a planet, and learning more about them can teach us how Earth became the planet it is today. By studying the composition and behavior of comets, scientists can begin to answer fundamental questions about our existence: Where did we come from? Where did our planet's water originate? Was life delivered to Earth from outer space, and did it ride on the back of a comet?
Geologist and cosmochemist Natalie Starkey's new book Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids, and the Birth of the Solar System tells the story of these enigmatic celestial objects. She reveals how scientists are using these objects to help understand the birth of the Solar System, and everything contained within it—using the past to look ahead. Although the Earth hasn't experienced a major cometary collision for a very long time, Natalie also looks ahead to the future, illuminating the work being done to save Earth when a large comet sets its sights on earth again.
Join Joshua Fields for a conversation with Natalie about her life and work studying comets to learn more about these mysterious space voyagers and the very real impact they have had in shaping our world.
Natalie Starkey is a geologist and cosmochemist who has been actively involved in scientific research for over 10 years. Following a PhD studying the geochemistry of Arctic volcanoes, Natalie shifted her research focus to space rocks; namely, comet and asteroid samples. Coincidentally, it was at this time she got the chance to analyze samples returned by the NASA Stardust and JAXA Hayabusa space missions.
Natalie's passion for her research, and science in general, makes her a keen science communicator and there's nothing she likes better than enthusing the public with science. Natalie received a British Science Association Media Fellowship in 2013 and regularly appears on television and radio internationally, as well as being a science host with Neil deGrasse Tyson's popular StarTalk Radio. She has written science articles for The Guardian, has been a regular contributor to The Conversation website and has authored over 25 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. Natalie grew up and studied in the UK, but she currently lives in California.
Joshua Fields is a masters student in the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness program at CIIS. A born and bred Scotsman and a graduate of Oxford University, Joshua is the host of the Neonosis podcast, where he interviews thought leaders working on cutting-edge ideas. He is particularly interested in the evolution of consciousness and the creation of a new story for humanity.