NOTE TO EDITORS: Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the first talk in the 2001-2002 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series at Foothill College. The first talk will be Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in the college’s Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills, Calif. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

Life in the universe – what scientists mean by ‘life,’ the search for life and what life forms might exist in the universe – will be the topic of a free, non-technical talk next Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

Chris Chyba, Ph.D., of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and Stanford University, will give an illustrated talk about “Life in the Universe: Is It Just Around the Corner?” It will be the opening talk in this year’s Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, which is co-sponsored by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Foothill College’s Division of Physical Science, Mathematics and Engineering, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the SETI Institute.

Chyba will discuss what scientists today mean by life, what familiar and unfamiliar forms of life might be found in the universe, and just where and how we propose to look for life beyond the Earth. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Chyba holds the Carl Sagan Chair for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. He also serves as an associate professor at Stanford, where he is co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation. He was on the White House national security staff from 1993-1995, working on issues related to science and technology. Both his research and teaching focus on the scientific search for life beyond Earth. Chyba recently headed the NASA committee to define the type of probe to send to explore Jupiter’s mysterious moon Europa, which may harbor an underground ocean.

NASA’s astrobiology program pursues the cross-disciplinary study of life in the universe. Astrobiology addresses many fundamental questions about the origin, distribution and future of life in the universe. Ames Research Center is NASA’s Center of Excellence for astrobiology and manages the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The NAI, with central administrative offices at Ames, represents a partnership between NASA and a number of academic and other research organizations to promote, conduct and lead integrated multidisciplinary astrobiology research.

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series is held at Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills. From Interstate 280, exit at El Monte Road and travel west to the campus. Visitors must purchase a required campus parking permit for $2.

A unit of Foothill College academic credit will be available for those who attend all six lectures in the 2001-2002 series and write a short paper. Material for registering for the Astronomy 36 course will be available at the lecture Oct. 10.

Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Children over the age of 13 are welcome. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.