April 13, 2022

Arik Kershenbaum

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome ARIK KERSHENBAUM—celebrated zoologist and a fellow of Girton College, University of Cambridge—for a discussion of his latest book, The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens—and Ourselves. He will be joined in conversation with LOUIS GROSS, an Alvin and Sally Beaman Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


We are unprepared for the greatest discovery of modern science. Scientists are confident that there is alien life across the universe yet we have not moved beyond our perception of 'aliens' as Hollywood stereotypes. The time has come to abandon our fixation on alien monsters and place our expectations on solid scientific footing.

Using his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin's theory of evolution—which applies throughout the universe—Cambridge zoologist Dr Arik Kershenbaum explains what alien life must be like. This is the story of how life really works, on Earth and in space.

About Author(s)

Dr. Arik Kershenbaum is a zoologist, college lecturer, and fellow at Girton College, University of Cambridge. He has done extensive field work on animal communication, following wolves around Yellowstone National Park and the forests of central Wisconsin to uncover the meaning of their different kinds of howls, as well as decoding the whistles of dolphins among the coral reefs of the Red Sea, and the songs of hyraxes in the Galilee. He is a member of the international board of advisors for METI.org, a think tank on the topic of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Louis Gross is a Chancellor’s Professor and Alvin and Sally Beaman Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics on the faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the Director Emeritus of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a National Science Foundation-funded center to foster research and education at the interface between math and biology. He has served as Program Chair of the Ecological Society of America, as President of the Society for Mathematical Biology, President of the UTK Faculty Senate, Treasurer for the American Institute of Biological Sciences and as Chair of the National Research Council Committee on Education in Biocomplexity Research.