Dr Louisa Preston is an expert in the investigation of how life may have evolved on other planets and has worked on projects for NASA and the Canadian, European and UK Space Agencies. She was also involved in the European Space Agency Roscosmos Mars Mission to search for signatures of buried ancient life.
She also is contributing to the Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover expedition, due to land on Mars in 2023. She uses instruments in the lab that mimic those on the rover to extract biological information from rocks and minerals taken from the Icelandic hot springs, Spanish salt pans and Antarctic sandstones.
Dr Louisa Preston Writing
Dr Louisa Preston has had numerous articles and scholarly papers published and her first book Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for Life in the Universe was released in 2016.
Today we know of only a single planet that hosts life: Earth. But across a Universe of at least 100 billion possible habitable worlds, surely our planet isn’t the only one that is just right for life? As Goldilocks was searching for the perfect bowl of porridge, astrobiologists are searching for conditions throughout the Universe that are just right for life as we currently know it to exist.
With the Earth as our guide, the search has begun for similar worlds sitting at the perfect distance from their Sun – within the aptly named ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – that would enable them to keep water as a liquid on their surface and therefore perhaps support a thriving biosphere.
What might life look like on other worlds? It is possible to make best-guesses using facts rooted in biology, physics and chemistry, and by studying ‘extremophiles’ on Earth, organisms such as the near-indestructible water bears that can survive in the harshest conditions that Earth, and even space, can offer. Louise argues why these extremophiles give astrobiologists hope for life in the Universe.
Goldilocks and the Water Bears is a tale of the origins and evolution of life, and the quest to find it on other planets, on moons, in other galaxies, and throughout the Universe. Her other books include Pioneers (2022) and a contribution to Aliens: Science Asks: Is There Anyone Out There? (2016).
Louisa Preston Keynote Speaking
Louisa has often appeared as a female STEM speaker on radio and television to examine the power of science communication and the search for extra-terrestrial life. She has regularly appeared on BBC’s The Sky at Night (1957-), Stargazing Live (2011-2017) and Horizon (1964-), and has presented show for BBC Radio 4 and created a documentary film on her research for The Telegraph.
Part of Louisa’s job is going into schools and educating the younger generation on what science is like as a career, as well as wider scientific programmes happening in the UK and further afield. She is also a proficient speaker at industry and wider events. In 2013, Louisa was a speaker at the TED Conference to further discuss the possibility of life on Mars. She has also spoken at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, AstroFest, Winchester Science Centre, the Free Thinking Festival, York Festival of Ideas, Edinburgh Science Festival, New York Academy of Sciences, Royal Astronomical Society, Cheltenham Science Festival, The Royal Institution, The Lost Lectures and The British Science Association.
Louisa Preston Keynote Speaking Topics
– Astrobiology and the search for life in the Universe
– The geology and biology of Mars (including Mars missions)
– Europe, Titan, Enceladus and life on icy moons
– Analogue space missions and Mars-like environments on Earth
– Biosignatures on exoplanets
– Colonisation and space gardening on the moon and Mars
– Tim Peake and his Principia mission and life on the International Space Station
Louisa Preston STEM Educational Ambassador
It is very important for Louisa to see young people – particularly girls – take an interest in science and possible STEM careers. She believes that “the negative gender stereotypes of STEM rest on the assumption that girls lack the innate ability needed for success so I make it clear to every young girl I meet that if they want it, are instead in it, and prepared to work hard for it, then they can do anything.”
Call +44 1753 439 289 or email Great British Speakers now to book astrobiologist and STEM speaker Dr Louisa Preston for your corporate event.