Astronomy Live: Making First Contact main content.

Making First Contact

Part of Astronomy Live

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hubble image of space Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA
This program is cancelled. The Museum is temporarily closed to maintain health and safety, but please check back for updates about reopening, at which time our Central Reservations team will be happy to assist with refunds.

Are we alone in the universe? What does it take to make contact and communicate with life beyond Earth? Emily Rice, Brian Levine, and guest speaker David Gruber consider the challenges and possibilities, covering topics like of astronomy, mathematics, language, biology, and neuroscience, in this interdisciplinary presentation.

Meet the Presenters

David Gruber headshot

David Gruber is Presidential Professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Baruch College, City University of New York and serves on the faculty of the Ph.D. Program in Biology at the CUNY Graduate Center and the CUNY Macaulay Honors College. He is also an Explorer for National Geographic, a Research Associate in Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History and an Adjunct Faculty member at the John B. Pierce Laboratory of the Yale School of Medicine.

His interdisciplinary research pertains to marine biology, genomics/transcriptomics of uncharacterized marine organism, deep-sea ecology, photosynthesis, biofluorescence and bioluminescence. Dr. Gruber’s research utilizes Remote Operated Vehicles, extended-range SCUBA and soft robotics to investigate corals, sponges and delicate forms of marine fauna. He is currently working on sea turtle biology, following his discovery of biofluorescence in the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Brian Levine headshot

Brian Levine has been an educator and administrator, and his day job is as youth programs manager in the Education Department here at the American Museum of Natural History.  He has loved astronomy since he was young and counts visits to the Hayden Planetarium as a major influence. In high school, he took his first astronomy course which led to a bachelors in Astrophysics, and included studies in cosmology and extragalactic astronomy, and the beginnings of doing astronomy outreach.  Recently, he was awarded a Masters of Science Education in Free-Choice Learning from Oregon State, and is also the Vice President of the NYC Museum Educators Roundtable.  In his spare time he loves to travel, cook, and also produces, hosts, and presents at the Astronomy on Tap series at a bar in Brooklyn, and is often at other informal science events around New York City.

Emily Rice headshot

Emily Rice is a professor at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York and a resident research associate in Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. She co-leads the research group Brown Dwarfs in New York City, studying low mass stars, brown dwarfs, and giant exoplanets. She is also co-founder of the STARtorialist astro-fashion blog and soon-to-be online shop, runs HQ for the international network of Astronomy on Tap public outreach events, and occasionally "moonlights" as DJ Carly Sagan.