Ray Jayawardhana and the Strange New Worlds of Astronomy

February 28, 2011 | Miriam

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World-renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana will be discussing his new book, Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System,  at North York Central Library, Wed., Mar. 2, 7 pm (Room 1) and the newly-renovated Northern District, Mon. Mar. 14, 7 pm. For more details, click here.

In a fascinating interview with the Toronto Star’s Mary Ormsby, Dr. Jayawardhana explains that “In the beginning, we knew of our solar system—and that was it.” But in recent years, he continued “All of a sudden, we know of several hundred solar systems and at least 500 planets.”

Nicki Thomas TorontoStar
Nicki Thomas/Toronto Star

Dr. Jayawardhana is a professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and he is the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics. He has also written widely on science for publications like the Economist, Scientific American, New Scientist, Sky and Telescope, and more. He is one of those remarkable individuals who is able to discuss complex and difficult material in a way that is comprehensible to laymen. As he told the Globe and Mail in 2009, "I grew up with the sense that if I were to go into science, I would be a publicly engaged scientist, not someone locked away in a laboratory."  Strange New Worlds will be in branches soon.