Plant Biology and the Search for Alien Life: Watch Live Tuesday Night
If plants are found on other planets, they could look very different compared to those found on Earth. Some astrobiologists think plants on other planets will have a different dominant color than green.
Credit: Tim Pyle/Caltech

You can learn all about the complex world of plants — and, perhaps, how a better understanding of plants here on Earth could aid the search for alien life — in a live webcast Tuesday night (Feb. 4).

Eminent scientist Daniel Chamovitz, author of the recent book "What a Plant Knows," will discuss plant biology, ecology and evolution at 7:30 p.m. EST Tuesday (0030 GMT Wednesday) during a talk sponsored by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). You can watch the lecture live here on, courtesy of the CfA.

Chamovitz will address many intriguing questions, such as whether plants can smell, hear and remember. The subject matter is appropriate for the CfA, whose researchers tend to look beyond the tallest treetops, far out into space, officials said.

"It’s likely that the first signs of alien life we detect will be from plants," CfA officials wrote in a media advisory about the event. "Here on Earth, plants provide the oxygen that we breathe, so if we find an oxygen-rich atmosphere on a distant world, that oxygen will come from alien plants."

Chamovitz is director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University in Israel. "What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses" was published in 2012 by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

You can also watch Chamovitz' talk at the CfA's website here:

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