Finkelstein Bold Ideas in Physics Lecture and Exhibit: "The Hunt for Planet B" with Sara Seager

On behalf of the Georgia Tech College of Sciences and the School of Physics, we invite you to join us for our David Ritz Finkelstein Bold Ideas in Physics Lecture. This year we celebrate David's life and legacy with exoplanet explorer Sara Seager, referred to by NASA as "an astronomical Indiana Jones,” and with the Bold Ideas in Physics Exhibit, open to all from November 7 to 18.

The Bold Ideas in Physics Public Lecture

"The Hunt for Planet B" with Sara Seager 

Date: Monday November 14th: at 6:30 PM                               

Location: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Masks are recommended.

For thousands of years, inspired by the star-filled dark night sky, people have wondered what lies beyond Earth. Today, the search for signs of life is a key factor in modern-day planetary exploration. Astronomers have found thousands of planets that orbit nearby stars, called “exoplanets”. The newly launched James Webb Space telescope will enable us to study gases in rocky exoplanet atmospheres, including gases that might be attributed to life. Professor Sara Seager will share the latest advances in this revolutionary field.

The lecture will not be live streamed, but it will be recorded and stored in the Georgia Tech video archive.

About the speaker: Sara Seager is a Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Sciences and a Professor in Physics & Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among other accolades, Professor Seager is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and featured in the 2022 Emmy winning documentary.

Seager's research has built the foundation for the field of exo-planet atmospheres, and her current research pioneers in characterizing exoplanet atmospheres and developing future searches for signs of life based on atmospheric biosignature gases. Over 5,197 exoplanets, or planets outside the Solar System, are known to orbit nearby stars. A subset of exoplanets, called transiting planets, pass in front of and behind their stars, as seen from Earth. Their physical properties, such as average density and atmospheric thermal emission, can now be measured.

Seager’s group aims to understand their atmospheric composition and the interior structure. She is involved with a number of space-based exoplanet searches, as the Deputy Science Director for the MIT-led NASA mission TESS, as the PI for the on-orbit JPL/MIT CubeSat ASTERIA, and as a lead for Starshade Rendezvous Mission (a space-based mission concept under development for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs).

The Bold Ideas in Physics Public Exhibit

The Bold Ideas in Physics public exhibit introduces David Ritz Finkelstein's life, his work on gravitational fields, space-time, quantum relativity, and quantum computations, as well as new and developing research by Georgia Tech faculty and students. The exhibit will be on display in the Ground Floor Atrium, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, from November 7 to 18.


The Bold Ideas in Physics series celebrates the life and work of David Ritz Finkelstein, the late Georgia Tech School of Physics professor who was unafraid to challenge orthodoxy, and the first to show, at age 29, that anything falling inside a black hole cannot escape. To learn more about David, visit

Going forward, the David Ritz Finkelstein Fellowship will honor David’s participation in the Civil Rights movement, by aiding the School of Physics recruitment of Black graduate students. David’s friends are grateful for any contribution to the Finkelstein Fellowship Endowment (55D450), no matter how small. Checks should be made payable to the Georgia Tech Foundation, and mailed to Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc.; 760 Spring Street, NW, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30308. Or, online, please visit and enter your gift amount, designate it for "David Ritz Finkelstein Fellowship in Physics" in the Special Purpose field.

More Information:

About David Ritz Finkelstein
Past Bold Ideas Lectures


Event Details


  • Date: 
    Monday, November 14, 2022 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313


For More Information Contact

Predrag Cvitanović
School of Physics Professor
Glen P. Robinson Chair in Nonlinear Sciences