Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
Last updated: 04 January 2011
In this week's Science Cafe Adam Walton meets the Cardiff University scientist behind the theory that life on Earth arrived from outer space.
Broadcast Tuesday 4th January at 7 pm.
Life on our planet originated from stardust in interstellar space. That's the controversial theory which astronomer Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe has put forward to explain life on Earth. Chandra is Professor and Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology and he's Adam Walton's special guest in this week's Science Cafe.
Born in Ceylon - now Sri Lanka - and showing an early aptitude for mathematics, Chandra Wickramasinghe came to the UK as a Commonwealth Scholar in 1960. His Ph.D supervisor was the charismatic and influential astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle and the two scientists collaborated closely until Hoyle's death in 2001. Together they developed the theory of panspermia, the idea that life exists throughout the universe and is scattered like seed onto planets by meteors and comets. It's a theory which has huge implications for our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Adam meets Chandra at his home in Cardiff to look back over his fifty year career as an astronomer, explore his scientific influences and to discuss the theory that has earned him a reputation as a maverick, even as a heretic.
A new look for BBC Radio online: listen live on your computer - and now on your smartphone.