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Adam Frank

Astrophysicist Adam Frank recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post that addressed narratives about climate change. In the piece, titled, “Reframing climate change as a story of human evolutionary success,” Frank writes that this new narrative does not let humans off the hook when it comes to their role in causing climate change.

In that spirit, we sit down with Frank to discuss recent climate change narratives from Hollywood – films like “Ad Astra” and television shows like “The Expanse.” He helps us break them down. In studio:

  • Adam Frank, author and professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester

During this conversation, Adam Frank discussed the books "American War," by Omar El Akkad, and "The Water Knife" by Paolo Bacigalup.

Can science provide absolute knowledge and understanding? Three scientists have united to say that it can not, and they go further: they write that science can suffer from a blind spot, ignoring the power and value of human experience. It's not a condemnation of science -- not at all. Rather, the scientists argue that science provides vital insight into the world as we experience it, but it does not supplant our experience, which needs to be taken into account.

This controversial piece has sparked debate in the scientific community. Two of the three authors join us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, and author of several books, the latest being "Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth"
  • Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire

Astrophysicist Adam Frank joins a panel of climate activists and concerned citizens who respond to his book and its themes. In studio:

Astrophysicist Adam Frank joins us to discuss his new book, "Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth." Frank writes about how our planet relates to the billions of other planets that are suitable for intelligent life, and why climate change is a problem that crosses the universe. It's a call to understand our world in context, and to understand the challenge facing our civilization... if we want that civilization to continue for a long time.

Should we fear death? That question is at the heart of a new documentary about death from accomplished filmmaker Helen Whitney. It's called Into the Night, and it's coming to PBS and WXXI TV on Monday, March 26. 

Whitney chose to focus on nine individuals from very different backgrounds, trying to understand various perspectives on how we approach the end of our lives. One of those individuals is University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank, who describes himself as an "atheist plus.” 

We hear from him this hour, as well as Helen Whitney.

There’s a dark, mysterious object visiting our solar system, and astronomers in Hawaii say its behavior has them wondering if it could be an artificial object. They’ve named it Oumuamua – Hawaiian for “messenger” – and it’s the first object of its kind to be observed by humans. Researchers say it behaves oddly and has a strange shape. They argue that while it is probably made of natural materials, they haven’t yet ruled out that it could be a spaceship. Scientists will soon probe the object for signs of technology, and we’ll learn more in the coming weeks about its size and composition. But in the meantime, if it is more than a lifeless rock, what will humans do if we aren’t alone in the universe? 

University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank joins us to discuss that, and some news surrounding Mars and beyond.

Astrophysicist Adam Frank is fresh off the March for Science, and he's thinking about a lot of things related to this particular American moment. Why do so many Americans reject real expertise? Is the current administration going to do irrevocable damage in the battle against climate change? And how are scientists improving when it comes to recognizing the signs of intelligent life in the universe?

It's always a whirlwind conversation with one of science's great communicators, Adam Frank.

Good news: we've found the future home of Earthlings. At least, that's what the headlines seem to indicate: an Earth-like planet discovered, and it's not far away! We can get there, and it's rocky and might be able to sustain water!

But is Proxima Centauri B deserving of this kind of publicity? What can we know about this alien world, and what questions remain unanswered? Our guest, University of Rochester astrophysicist and NPR contributor Adam Frank, helps us understand. 

We may not be not the universe's first advanced civilization.

University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank is the co-author of a new paper that puts some numbers on how likely it is that humans are unique. His conclusion? Other intelligent life has very likely come before us. How often?

We discuss how Frank modified the famous "Drake Equation" of 1961, and why it's so likely that other intelligent life is either out there -- or has been out there, at one time or another.