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 Space.com, 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: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/publicevents
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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.