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124. How Astrophysicists Understand Our Origins and Search for Alien Life While Building a Better World for All of Us | Erika Hamden

Erika Hamden astrophysicist

Erika Hamden (@erikahamden) is an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona and Steward Observatory and leads the team building FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon at the very edge of space and looks for clues about how stars are created. She’s a 2019 TED fellow and her research focuses on developing ultraviolet (UV) detector technology, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV/VIS) instrumentation and spectroscopy, and galaxy evolution.

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In today’s episode we discuss:

  • The evolution of astrophysics
  • How space exploration advances in today’s booming business world
  • Why fundamental science and research is so critical to humanity’s future
  • Which technologies scare Erika the most and why
  • The value of astronauts and off-Earth habitats
  • What to do about data privacy and our ads-based economy
  • Why Erika believes there’s intelligent extraterrestrial life out there
  • What to think about Trump and the impacts on science and tech
  • How do stars form and accidental discoveries occur
  • Physics role in military action
  • The importance of putting yourself and life first and foremost
  • Why we are both more than a little worried about social media
  • What most people don’t know about funding scientific research

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