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"All these possibilities are out there. And we live in the one that is hospital to our form of life." -- Brian Greene (James Duncan Davidson/TED)

Is Our Universe The Only Universe?

by NPR/TED Staff
Feb 18, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

About Brian Greene's TED Talk

Is there more than one universe? Physicist Brian Greene shows how the unanswered questions of physics (starting with a big one: What caused the Big Bang?) have led to the theory that our own universe is just one of many in the "multiverse."

About Brian Greene

Brian Greene is perhaps the best-known proponent of superstring theory, the idea that minuscule strands of energy vibrating in a higher dimensional space-time create every particle and force in the universe. Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, has focused on unified theories for more than 25 years, and has written several best-selling and non-technical books on the subject including The Elegant Universe, a Pulitzer finalist, and The Fabric of the Cosmos—each of which has been adapted into a NOVA mini-series. His latest book, The Hidden Reality, explores the possibility that our universe is not the only universe.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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"We should search because it tells us how to collaborate our place in the cosmos." -- Jill Tarter (TED / James Duncan Davidson)

Are We Alone In The Universe?

by NPR/TED Staff
Feb 15, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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About Jill Tarter's TED Talk

The SETI Institute's Jill Tarter wants to accelerate our search for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she and her team listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe.

About Jill Tarter

SETI's Jill Tarter has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work. Astronomer Jill Tarter was the long-time director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's Center for SETI Research, and also holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She led Project Phoenix, a decade-long SETI scrutiny of about 750 nearby star systems, using telescopes in Australia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. While no clearly extraterrestrial signal was found, this project was the most comprehensive targeted search for artificially generated cosmic signals ever undertaken.

Tarter serves on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, a massive new instrument that will eventually include 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will increase the speed and the spectral range of the hunt for signals from other distant technologies by orders of magnitude.

In 2009, Tarter won the TED Prize, a $100,000 reward. The funds went towards her project SETILive which Tarter says will hopefully "empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company."

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Phil Plait knows the secrets to avoiding a big asteroid catastrophe. (Courtesy of TED)

How Can We Defend Earth From Asteroids?

by NPR/TED Staff
Feb 15, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

About Phil Plait's TED Talk

What's six miles wide and can end civilization in an instant? An asteroid — and there are lots of them out there. With humor and great visuals, Phil Plait enthralls the TEDxBoulder audience with all the ways asteroids can kill, and what we must do to avoid them.

About Phil Plait

Phil Plait is behind the Bad Astronomy on Slate, where he deconstructs misconceptions and explores the wonder of the Universe. He debunks myths and misconceptions about astronomy — and also writes about the beauty, wonder, and importance of fundamental research.

He worked for six years on the Hubble Space Telescope, and directed public outreach for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. He is a past president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, and was the host of Phil Plait's Bad Universe, a documentary series on the Discovery Channel.

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Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter explains part of his research in astrophysics. (Kimberly White/Getty Images)

How Did A Mistake Unlock One Of Space's Mysteries?

by NPR/TED Staff
Feb 15, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Brian Greene at TED2012. Astronomer Adam Riess was one of the scientists to figure out the universe is expanding rapidly.

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Part 1 of TED Radio Hour episode Peering Into Space.

Physicist Brian Greene explains how the prevailing theories about the fabric of space changed dramatically in the last century — twice. The most recent shift in thinking came about from a strange mistake, and revealed hidden truths about the nature of our universe. Later in this episode, Greene talks more about why this discovery hints at the existence of other universes.

About Brian Greene

Brian Greene is perhaps the best-known proponent of superstring theory, the idea that minuscule strands of energy vibrating in a higher dimensional space-time create every particle and force in the universe. Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, has focused on unified theories for more than 25 years, and has written several best-selling and non-technical books on the subject including The Elegant Universe, a Pulitzer finalist, and The Fabric of the Cosmos—each of which has been adapted into a NOVA mini-series. His latest book, The Hidden Reality, explores the possibility that our universe is not the only universe.

About Saul Perlmutter

Saul Perlmutter is a professor of astrophysics UC Berkeley Physics Department in 2004. He is also an astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, which first announced the results indicating that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. In 1996, he received the American Astronomical Society's Henri Chretien Award. Perlmutter has also written popular articles for Sky and Telescope magazine and has appeared in recent Public Broadcasting System and BBC documentaries on astronomy and cosmology. Professor Perlmutter, who led one of two teams that simultaneously discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe, was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shares with two members of the rival team.

About Adam Riess

Adam Riess is a professor of astronomy and physics at the Johns Hopkins University and a Senior member of the Science Staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute, both in Baltimore, MD. His research involves measurements of the cosmological framework with supernovae and pulsating stars. In 1998, Dr. Riess led a study for the High-z Team which provided the first direct and published evidence that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating and filled with Dark Energy, a result which, together with the Supernova Cosmology Project's result, was called the Breakthrough Discovery of the Year by Science Magazine in 1998.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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