Call for Proposals: SSoCIA 2020

The Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SSoCIA) is a new organization dedicated to rigorous exploration of the many broader issues surrounding astrobiology and space exploration more generally. We are a growing community, with over 150 active members from an array of different areas: academics in natural science, social science, and the humanities; professionals working in both public and private aspects of the space industry; and experts in the communication, education, and science fiction communities. Our goal is to foster serious, thoughtful engagement with these complex issues in an informal and friendly atmosphere.

Our third biannual meeting will be held at the University of Mississippi on March 26-29th, 2020. This year we are pleased to have two exceptional keynote speakers:

  • Seth Shostak is a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute. He is well-known as an advocate for better public understanding of science and a major figure in the SETI community. He has been involved in a number of debates of interest to the SSoCIA members, most recently arguing in favor of attempts to message extraterrestrials (METI).
  • Simon Conway-Morris is a paleontologist and astrobiologist at the University of Cambridge and fellow of the Royal Society. He has been active in several public debates concerning the relationship between science and religion, taking strong positions against creationism and reductionism. His 2003 book, Life’s Solutions, argues that the emergence of human-like intelligence is a near inevitability on worlds with the right conditions.

We welcome abstract submissions addressing any issues in astrobiology and space exploration that go beyond the purely empirical, regardless of discipline or approach. Questions addressed in previous meetings have included:

  • What is “life”?
  • How should we treat extraterrestrials of different sorts?
  • Is human colonization of other worlds morally permissible?
  • Should we move forward with attempts to contact extraterrestrial intelligence (METI)?
  • What would be the religious significance of a second genesis?
  • To what extent can we say human and alien intelligence and motives are similar?
  • How should off world colonies be governed?
  • How can we use astrobiology to further science education?

Graduate students are especially encouraged to apply. We anticipate being able to offer travel support for students as well as a prize for the best student submission.

Proposal abstracts for talks or posters are due by October 15, 2019 (please no UFO papers). Please direct any questions to the program chair, Kelly C. Smith:

How to submit: use "Submit proposal" link in the sidebar, or click here.

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