Soap Box is an interactive series in which participants of all backgrounds converse with top MIT scientists or engineers in an informal cafe-style setting at the MIT Museum. Begun in 2005, Soap Box is the premier public forum for discussing new technological and scientific developments at MIT.
Fall 2014 Soap Box: How to Make Life and Influence Planets
Discover the origins of life on earth and how life itself can drastically alter the landscape of our planet. Then learn what prospects lie ahead of finding habitable planets and even other types of life outside of the Earth. Come with questions, share your thoughts, and leave with new knowledge and understanding.
Co-sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Institute at MIT.
Tuesday, 10/7: 6:00-7:30pm
Origins of Life on Earth
Discover what we can we infer about the origin of life from the genomes of living organisms and what the geological record tell us about the Earth's environments during life’s beginnings. What does this mean for the search for life beyond Earth?
Greg Fournier - Associate Professor of Geobiology, MIT
Francis Macdonald - Associate Professor of Geology, Harvard
Tuesday, 10/14: 6:00-7:30pm
The Invisible Majority
Most fossils are too small to see since most of life’s history is microbial. However it is possible to identify signatures of microbial life in rocks. Find out what they tell us, and how might we use them to recognize life elsewhere.
Ann Pearson - Professor of Environmental Sciences, Harvard
Giulio Mariotti - Crosby Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT
Tuesday, 10/21: 6:00-7:30pm
Why Life Got Big
For much of the earth's history, microbes were the only living organisms on the planet. What spurred the evolution of larger-sized and more diverse animals?
David Johnston - Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard
David Gold - Agouron Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT
Tuesday, 10/28: 6:00-7:30pm
Life Beyond Earth
Discover what we know about the possibility of life in the rest of our solar system and beyond, and join a discussion about what that means for humanity in the future.