Artist's impression of the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b shown as arid (but not completely water-free) rocky Super-Earth. ESO/M. Kornmesser - https://www.eso.org/public/images/ann16056a/

Artist's impression of the system Gliese 667. ESO/L. Calçada - https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0939a/

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    Abiotic chemical disequilibria in Exo-Earth atmospheres

    The past twenty years have revealed the diversity of planets that exist in the Universe. The discovery and characterization of exoplanets has the potential to offer the world one of the most impactful findings in the history of astronomy - the identification of life beyond Earth.

    Life can be inferred by the presence of atmospheric biomarkers - gases produced by life that can accumulate to detectable levels in an exoplanet atmosphere. The conviction that these biosignatures will actually be detected by remote sensing from space telescopes is moderated by current challenges to analyse the dozens of exoplanet atmospheres studied in the last decade, namely the difficulty in robustly identifying molecules and the permanent limitations from a spectrum of spatially unresolved and globally mixed gases without direct surface observations (Seager, 2014).

    The proposed research aims to examine the abiotic disequilibria in the planetary atmospheres of our Solar System and previously observed Jovian exoplanet atmospheres.

Artist's impression of of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org) - https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1517a/

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Global Biogeography Since Pangaea

Sarah R.N. McIntyre, Charles H. Lineweaver, Colin P. Groves, Aditya Chopra
Journal Paper Proceedings Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284 (1856): 20170716. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0716.

Abstract

The break-up of the supercontinent Pangaea around 180 Ma has left its imprint on the global distribution of species and resulted in vicariance-driven speciation. Here, we test the idea that the molecular clock dates, for the divergences of species whose geographical ranges were divided, should agree with the palaeomagnetic dates for the continental separations. Our analysis of recently available phylogenetic divergence dates of 42 pairs of vertebrate taxa, selected for their reduced ability to disperse, demonstrates that the divergence dates in phylogenetic trees of continent-bound terrestrial and freshwater vertebrates are consistent with the palaeomagnetic dates of continental separation.

Terrestrial Constraints on Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Sarah R.N. McIntyre, Charles H. Lineweaver
Conference Papers Astrobiology Science Conference 2017, Mesa, Arizona, USA (talk, 24 April 2017)

Abstract

To understand our place in the cosmos, one question rises above all others: “Are we alone in the universe?” Astronomical research on habitable planets has shown that there are billions of prospective Earth-like planets that could all potentially support complex life forms. It is often assumed that once life is present, even as a single-celled organism, an evolution towards humanlike intelligence and subsequent technological development is inevitable. If this convergent evolution hypothesis were to hold up in outer space, it should be applicable to the one planet that we know for certain harbours life – the Earth. Putting a terrestrial spin on Fermi’s paradox, we can ask: If human-like intelligence is convergent, why are we the only species with human-like intelligence on Earth?

Terrestrial Constraints on Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Sarah R.N. McIntyre, Charles H. Lineweaver, Colin Groves
Manuscript in Preparation

Abstract

In the pursuit to understand the cosmos and our place within, one question rises above all others: “Are we alone in the universe?” Astronomical research on habitable planets has shown that there are billions of prospective Earth-like planets that could all potentially support complex life forms. However, there is an assumption that permeates through reasoning regarding evolution of life in space that once life is present, even as a single-celled organism, evolution towards human-like intelligence and subsequent technological development is inevitable. This research experimentally investigated the convergent evolution hypothesis to explore if there is an "intelligence niche" towards which, or into which species evolve, and extrapolate how "rare" occurrence of human-like intelligent life is.

Terrestrial Constraints on Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Sarah R.N. McIntyre, Charles H. Lineweaver
Conference Papers Mt Stromlo Annual Student Seminar, Canberra, Australia (talk, 2 Dec 2016)

Abstract

In the pursuit to understand the cosmos and our place within, one question rises above all others: “Are we alone in the universe?” Astronomical research on habitable planets has shown that there are billions of prospective Earth-like planets that could all potentially support complex life forms. However, there is an assumption that permeates through reasoning regarding evolution of life in space that once life is present, even as a single-celled organism, evolution towards human-like intelligence and subsequent technological development is inevitable. This research experimentally investigated the convergent evolution hypothesis to explore if there is an "intelligence niche" towards which, or into which species evolve, and extrapolate how "rare" occurrence of human-like intelligent life is.

Hearing Harmonies in Newton’s Laws

Sarah R.N. McIntyre
Journal Paper Australian Physics Journal, Volume 51, Issue 4, Jul - Aug 2014, Pages 122-124

Abstract

This year, the Australian Institute of Physics Congress theme “The Art of Physics” sets the stage for further investigation into the intrinsic connection between physics and music. This article describes the author’s physics inspired dance suite that will be performed at the AIP Congress in December.

Artist’s impression of the planet around Alpha Centauri B. ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org) - https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1241a/

 

  • MAA 2017

    Masters Astronomy and Astrophysics (Ad)

    Australian National University

    Supervisor: Charles Lineweaver


  • B.A.2015

    Bachelor of Arts

    Australian National University

    Major: Biological anthropology
    Major: Music

  • B.Sc.2015

    Bachelor of Science

    Australian National University

    Major: Physics
    Minor: Mathematics
    Specialization: Astronomy and astrophysics

  • Exchange2015

    Global Programs Exchange

    Niels Bohr Institute University of Copenhagen

    Undergraduate course: Atomic Physics
    Masters course: Origin and Evolution of the Solar System

Artist’s impression of the planet Beta Pictoris b. ESO L. Calçada/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org) - https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1414a/