David Grinspoon

David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist and prize-winning author. He is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. His research focuses on climate evolution on Earth-like planets and potential conditions for life elsewhere in the universe. He is involved with several interplanetary spacecraft missions for NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. In 2013 he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress where he studied the human impact on Earth systems and organized a public symposium on the Longevity of Human Civilization. His technical papers have been published in Nature, Science, and numerous other journals, and his popular writing has appeared in Slate, Scientific American, Natural History, Nautilus, Astronomy, Seed, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Sky & Telescope Magazine where he is a contributing editor and writes the quasi-monthly “Cosmic Relief” column. His new book Earth in Human Hands was named a Best Science Book of 2016 by NPR’s Science Friday. His previous book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Nonfiction. Grinspoon has been recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. He appears frequently as a science commentator on television, radio and podcasts, including as a frequent guest on StarTalk Radio and host of the new spinoff StarTalk All Stars. Also a musician, he currently leads the House Band of the Universe.

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What principles of order underlie the ascent of complexity, from the simplest particles of physics heralding the birth of the universe, through biological forms, to the achievements of civilization? Has a recurrent theme of combination and integration led to multiple fundamental levels from quarks to culture? What do we learn from the ongoing creative process… read more »