Frascati, March 27 – 31 , 2023
From Quarks to Black Holes: let’s get INSPYRED!
The physics of habitable worlds – A. Balbi (Univ. Tor Vergata, Rome)
In this talk, we will explore the physics underlying the existence of habitable worlds in the universe. We will begin by discussing the conditions necessary for a planet to be habitable, including factors such as distance from its host star, atmospheric composition, and the presence of liquid water. We will then delve into the physical processes that govern the evolution of planets and their atmospheres, such as plate tectonics, volcanic activity, and the greenhouse effect. Next, we will examine the role that the host star plays in determining a planet’s habitability, including the effects of stellar radiation and magnetic fields on planetary atmospheres. Finally, we will consider the ongoing search for habitable worlds beyond our own solar system, including the methods used to detect exoplanets and the challenges of characterizing their atmospheres and surfaces. We will highlight recent discoveries and future prospects for finding and studying habitable worlds, and explore the broader implications for understanding the origins and prevalence of life in the universe.
Amedeo Balbi is associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the Physics Department of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. The author of over 100 scientific papers, his research has touched a broad set of topics in theoretical astrophysics, including the physics of the early universe, the problem of dark matter and energy, and the search for life in the cosmos. His studies contributed to the first precise measurements of the cosmological parameters and to the determination of the geometry of the universe. He is a member of the International Astronomical Union, of the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi), of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee and of the Scientific Council of the Italian Society of Astrobiology. He is also very active as a science communicator and educator. He has appeared in numerous TV and radio programs and has authored several popular science books.