Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz is the Baruch S. Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress, and an Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. She studies the ethics of Mars exploration, stellar magnetic activity, how stars influence a planet's suitability as a host for alien life, and how to use advanced computing to discover unusual events in large astronomical data sets. Walkowicz is the founding director of the new LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, an initiative to provide astronomy graduate students with training in advanced computing for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Walkowicz holds a BS in Physics and Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University, and an MS and PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington. Walkowicz is also a TED Senior Fellow and a practicing artist, working in a variety of media, from oil paint to sound.
Ms. Walkowicz is joined by Dr. Avi Mandell in the By The People discussion on Life examining: “What would be the potential implications of discovering life beyond Earth (scientific, cultural, philosophical, ethical), and do they warrant the billions of dollars spent on the endeavor?”