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Massachusetts Institute of Technology  /  MIT Museum
Building N51   265 Massachusetts Avenue   Cambridge, MA 02139
Open Daily 10am – 5pm  /  Closed Major Holidays

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Soap Box

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 - [Video]

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 - [Video 1 2]

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

Part 1 | Part 2


Tuesday, 10/21: 6:00-7:30pm

Why Life Got Big - [Video]

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 - [Video]

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.

Christopher Carr - Research Scientist, MIT
Vlada Stamenkovic - SNSF Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT

MIT MUSEUM   265 Massachusetts Avenue   Building N51   Cambridge, MA 02139
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discussion among young and old

Archived videos of previous speakers can be viewed in an edited format on MIT World™.

If you have ideas for Soap Box, or are interested in sponsoring the series please let us know.