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The Earth: Are we lucky or special?

Posted on 07/12/2011

Dr Dave Waltham, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, has set up a conference of experts to discuss whether our world is simply a typical result of how planets form in the Universe, or whether in fact our planet has an unusual combination of properties that were necessary preconditions for the emergence of intelligent life.

The conference, which will take place at the Geological Society of London on Friday (9 December 2011), features a number of academics presenting talks and seminars discussing ‘Is the Earth Special?’

Dr Waltham said: “As an Earth-Scientist, I am fascinated by the controversial idea that planets suitable for complex life are unusual and that our home-world therefore has to be a very peculiar place.

“I’ve set up this conference of astronomers, geologists and biologists to look into this question and I expect the result will be one of the most interesting cross-disciplinary discussions I’ve ever been to.”

The topic is highly controversial and should attract attendees from both sides of the argument.  In particular, there is a potential discussion to be had between those who believe a complex biosphere produces environmental stability and those who believe that this has confused cause and effect.

Please click here for further information and details of the programme.


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