Tag Archives: our elegant universe
Benjamin Hoste | Staff PhotographerNatalie Batalha, mission scientist of the NASA-directed Kepler Mission, gives the morning lecture Tuesday in the Amphitheater. In her talk, she used the “Goldilocks” children’s story as an analogy for her mission’s charge to search for Earth-like planets that could support life.

Batalha: ‘The cosmic forest beckons because we are innately explorers’

The bowl of porridge was not too hot, but not too cold. The rocking chair was not too big, but not too small. The bed was not too long, but not too short.

Goldilocks’ selections in the popular children’s tale have a few things in common with NASA astrophysicist Natalie Batalha’s search for life in the universe.

Batalha, who gave Tuesday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater, kept with the week’s theme of “Our Elegant Universe” by explaining how she and other scientists with NASA’s Kepler Mission go about the slow, painstaking work of searching for planets with the capacity to develop and support life.

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‘Our Elegant Universe’ connects quantum mechanics and relativity

Next summer at Chautauqua, it’s not rocket science — just particle physics, a few mathematical models that try to connect quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, and perhaps a splash of microbiology.

“Our Elegant Universe,” the theme for Week One of the 2013 Season, takes its name from the book and television series by Brian Greene, who will keynote the week with a lecture on Monday, June 24. The theoretical physicist and Columbia professor is at the forefront of his field in research, but also a popular speaker, host of his own PBS special and the author of many books, including the young adult science fiction novel Icarus at the Edge of Time. He even made a featured cameo on the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”

Greene’s skills at communicating complicated topics to audiences of all scientific backgrounds have won him the admiration of many, including Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker.

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