Skip to main content

Aliens in Outer Space: The Science and the Fiction

« back to classes page
Few areas of astronomy provoke our imaginations as much as the search for “alien life” among the stars. It is a staple of science fiction stories and films, but recently it has also become a legitimate branch of scientific inquiry. In this non-technical class (designed for people without much science background), we first take a look at our modern view of the universe. We then discuss why astronomers are more optimistic than ever that there must be life beyond the Earth, what experiments we are undertaking to find or communicate with such life, and what we propose to do if we find “them.” We’ll also look at some of the most imaginative science-fiction ideas about what aliens will be like, and what the positive and negative results of getting in touch with aliens might be.
Click here to view the instructor video.
Your Instructor: Andrew Fraknoi
Andrew Fraknoi teaches fun classes on astronomy and “physics for poets” at San Francisco State OLLI and the Fromm Institute. He was the California Professor of the Year in 2007 (selected by the Carnegie Endowment for Higher Education.) Fraknoi is the lead author of Astronomy, a free, online, introductory textbook, published by the non-profit OpenStax project, which is now the most frequently used astronomy text in America. He has also written two books for children and several books for school teachers. He regularly appears on local and national radio, explaining astronomical developments in everyday language. Fraknoi keeps a website cataloging science-fiction stories based on good astronomy and has published seven science fiction stories of his own in recent years. Asteroid 4859 has been named Asteroid Fraknoi by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of his contributions to the public understanding of science. You can learn more about his work at:
Class Dates and Time:  
April 4th through May 9th   
2pm Pacific | 3pm Mountain | 4pm Central | 5pm Eastern 
Each lecture session is 90 minutes 
Class schedule: Live lectures will take place on Tuesdays via ZOOM 
  • Tuesday, April 4                                  Live Lecture 1  
  • Tuesday, April 11                                 Live Lecture 2  
  • Tuesday, April 18                                Live Lecture 3  
  • Tuesday, April 25                                Live Lecture 4  
  • Tuesday, May 2                                   Live Lecture 5 
  • Tuesday, May 9                                   Live Lecture 6 

Class Details

6 Session(s)
Weekly - Tue

Virtual - Any Location

Lisa D'Angelo 



Email for more information. Send to Friend » Request More Info »

Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
4/4/2023 - 5/9/2023 Weekly - Tue 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM N/A, Virtual - Any Location  Map Lisa D'Angelo 
/*NOV 14 2020*/