Einstein Lectures

Einstein Lectures 2022 with Didier Queloz

Are we alone in the universe? Is there life on other planets? What are the conditions on other planets like? And what kinds of other planets are there, anyway?

In 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva discovered the first planet outside our solar system: “51 Pegasi b”. This exoplanet, which is comparable with Jupiter, orbits a star in the Pegasus constellation whose light takes approximately 50 years to reach Earth. With their discovery, Queloz and Mayor began a revolution in the understanding of planetary systems. Since then, more than 5,000 exoplanets, including some with similarities to Earth, have been discovered. These discoveries offer us access to a huge range of extra-terrestrial worlds in the universe.

In 2019, Didier Queloz and Michel Mayor were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their groundbreaking discovery of the first ever exoplanet.

Today Didier Queloz is Professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge, UK, and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK.

Didier Queloz ©zvg
Didier Queloz © Courtesy of Didier Queloz

On December 12th, 13th and 14th, 2022, Didier Queloz held the Einstein Lectures, which have taken place every year since 2009 at the University of Bern in collaboration with the Albert Einstein Society of Bern. He described the huge challenges of the original discovery and its far-reaching consequences, and offer us entirely new insights into planetary formation as well as the possible origins and evolution of life in the universe.

Video Lecture 1: Planets in Solar System Context

This lecture reviewed lessons learned from Solar System studies and its related planetary formation theory. The reference framework established from all these studies defined the Star System as the canonical planetary model until 1995.

Video Lecture 2: The Exoplanet Revolution

This lecture adressed the challenges of early discoveries and the richness and diversity of planetary systems that have now been detected. How much it modified our perspective on the canonical model of planet formation as a whole.

Video Lecture 3: Exoplanets and Life in the Universe

This lecture introduced the audience with new opportunities to address the question of the existence and prevalence of life in the Universe. The wealth of planetary systems have modified our perspective of our place in the Universe and represents a historical opportunity of insights and a compelling call to look for signs of life on these new worlds and to reflect on the origin of life in the Solar System.

Eine (schöne) Geschichte des menschlichen Geistes

Was macht den Mensch zum Menschen? Wohl ganz einfach: dass er fähig ist, sich diese Frage zu stellen. Aber wie kam es dazu, dass er zu so einem mit Geist ausgestatteten Wesen wurde? Philip Pettit, der dieses Jahr die Einstein Lectures hält, versucht als Philosoph darauf eine Antwort zu geben, mit den Mitteln eines – von Einstein ja auch sehr geliebten – Gedankenexperiments.