Life in Our Universe

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting information Bought this as a gift and they are thrilled with it
Date published: 2019-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Astrobiology Course I took Professor Close's class and I had to commend his work on this course. The course is rich with content but still easily to digest and get a handle on. The lectures build upon themselves extremely well and it is clear that Professor Close cares about this lecture and has a lot invested into it. The love behind this course was apparent. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in Astrobiology or Astronomy as a whole.
Date published: 2019-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite "Great Courses" -- thrilling ! Yes, Professor Laird Close over-uses the word "actually". He also gives long pauses frequently: I wondered whether he was doing that intentionally to facilitate edits or inserts that might have to be made when he reviewed playback. Anyway, those tics didn't throw me; I found his style engaging, easy to follow, and very clear. It was a major plus to see a lecturer so obviously in love with his discipline, and eager to share his knowledge. The content of Dr. Close's course is brilliant: he creates a compelling and deeply fascinating story in a friendly but authoritative manner. His 24 lectures flow smoothly through an ideal progression, holding interest throughout. The liberal use of clear, strong graphics and video clips adds enormously to this winning, handsome course. I DISliked the various sound effects, though: the whooshing, dings, pipping and other odd sounds which were introduced presumably to emphasis points. One noise made me think my house, car or smoke alarm had gone off! This is my 200th review, and I'm privileged to mark the fact with this outstanding, engrossing course that starts by considering whether we are alone in the universe. In 1990 I met Dr. Isaac Asimov (he of the famous quote our lecturer refers to); two years later Dr. Asimov passed to eternity and now knows all the answers. For all of us on the planet, this course has to be a high point in the explanation of the formation of the universe, the birth of our "Goldilocks" planet, and the scientific quest for life elsewhere, as we journey into the world of ASTRO-BIOLOGY, searching for a planet that we might populate one day, even outside our solar system. Dr. Close's comparisons of Earth and our other solar system planets are superb, even exciting, I'd say. The lectures on extraterrestrial intelligent life, SETI, fossilized life from Mars, the Fermi paradox, and space travel - a reality check, are truly highlights. "Life in Our Universe" has immediate appeal to people with an enquiring scientific bent, particularly those with an interest in astronomy and life forms (c'est moi!); I strongly recommend this course to EVERYONE. It's 5-star all-round, one of my top choices from my 200+ Great Courses.
Date published: 2019-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Overall Good Overall, this is a very good class. The professor is excellent and is a very good communicator. I docked it one star because I feel like the class should have spent a little more time on astro-biology and a little less on our own planet. While I wish the time had been allocated a little differently, this is still well-worth watching.
Date published: 2018-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Course I learned a lot about life and what it takes to make it and the possibility of other life beyond our own. The instructor is well informed and interesting.
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The lecture was engaging and so informative I had to buy this for my curriculum in my astronomy class and I have to say this is the best way of teaching materials. A textbook is nothing in comparison to a great course
Date published: 2018-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I love the download option. It was not clear how to get it to my computer but a quick call and the lady walked me through it. I short short explanation on the web site might have precluded my having to call.
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life in Our Universe I love astronomy and physics, although I haven't taken a physics course for 40 years since my college. This course is complex, and the professor goes out of his way to try to explain very complicated concepts in simple terms. I only understand these concepts because I took college level physics, chemistry and calculus years ago. I studied hard and struggled to understand those physics and chemistry concepts that the professor tries to briefly relay in simple terms. I don't know how literature or business majors would have any clue of what he is talking about when he mentions spectrum absorption lines for hydrogen or helium. This course is great and gives me hours of extra enjoyment after watching each lecture, just mulling over the wonderful concepts and implications. It is best appreciated by people with a strong science background. English and philosophy majors should stick to their religion courses.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life in our rear speaker & universe My wife & I did this one together. It was a great experience. The teacher is a great speaker & does a great job with illustrations. I'm happy I bought this course & recommend it for every one.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poor Presentation While the information was interesting, the presentation was sub-par, almost hesitant in places, and often too repetitive. Were another presenter to offer the same course I would consider purchasing it.
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from one of the poorest This would fit best as an advanced science course for junior high students, and even at that, the lecturer is, I am sorry to say, found wanting, for all of the reasons already cited. His style "actually" has been covered, as has his most egregious error, that of his misconceptions about RNA. To make an error like that is to compromise the credibility of the entire series of lectures. As did Carl Sagan so long ago, he should have started with the Drake Equation, should have developed the intriguing theory of panspermia, and directed panspermia. A great disappointment; someone at the Great Courses was asleep at the switch in selecting this, actually.
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Should be titled, "Life on Our Planet" I'm 6 of 24 lectures through this series, and we've heard about life for 15 minutes so far. I was hoping for a discussion on evidence for life elsewhere in our universe, but apparently there isn't much of that. We spent 3 hours on the Big Bang, and formation of our solar system, and we're finally up to bacteria. Interesting stuff, but too much on planet formation.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've watched about half of the lectures in this course so my review is only partially valid. Thus far, the course has been very informative and interesting. I have not been as sensitive (compared to other reviewers) to the presenter's quirk of using the word "actually " so often in his delivery. The topics are well chosen and delivered by Professor L. Close and I look forward to completing the course.
Date published: 2016-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some great content buried in verbal,tics This course has a lot to recommend it, and some of the lectures have outstanding content and pose very timely issues and fascinating questions as to our future on this planet. Like others, the professor's incessant use of the word "actually" became such an annoyance that I would put off listening to the next lecture or skip through parts. Sometimes the lecture was so dry or technical that I would have to back up and listen again because my mind wandered. So overall, some nuggets of information but I wouldn't rush out to buy another course from this professor. As far as explaining the history and origins of our solar system, I thought the big history course was much better and easier for a lay person like me to digest.
Date published: 2016-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life in Our Universe. An intriguing course expertly taught and presented. The graphics were outstanding. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sorry, not worth it I finally had to stop watching this one. Initially, Professor Close's overuse of the word "actually" was a minor irritant but pretty soon I began to realize that it was a cover up for not being completely familiar with the material. "Actually" is his way of making the listener believe that what he is saying is true without actually having to back it up with facts. It all came to a head when he described terrestrial ocean ridge environments as harbors for early life but repeatedly referred to these environments as trenches. Actually, trenches are at the other end of oceanic tectonic plates where seafloor is being subducted beneath a continent.
Date published: 2015-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Life in Our Universe I'm a fan of "The Great Courses". Dr, Close's "Life in Our Universe" is a great example. Another is Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's "The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries". This course discusses the more recent advances in technology that make modern observations possible. What is truly amazing is the way that subtler levels information can be teased out of those observations.
Date published: 2015-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding professor-outstanding material! I am a professor of biology so I understand professors like Dr. Close. I am disappointed that others have given him less than an outstanding review. This suggests to me that these people really have not carefully listened to the content of this course. I have subscribed to many courses, and I would rank this one as the top 3-4 I have viewed. The course covers humankind's most ambitious endeavor, to discover if there is life elsewhere in the Universe. He is up to date and the course illustrations are magnificent. I strongly recommend that subscribers to The Great Courses order and view this fantastic course. Professor R. Malcolm Brown, Jr. The University of Texas at Austin
Date published: 2014-12-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very factual and informative; just overpriced IMHO Watched it on Netflix streaming for free. Was very informative. I think all the Great Courses are priced too highly, and this was no exception.
Date published: 2014-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, not great Dr. Close does a nice job. Not an inspiring lecturer but solid. The best part of course for me was his review of cosmology and the evolution of life here on earth. A lot of the rest is of course very conjectural. Section of terraforming quite interesting. Recommended for those with strong interest in subject, more casual viewers may be slightly disappointed.
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Life if you can handle it The content was good, however the way it was delivered was terrible. He hesitates so often, that you wonder if he's looking at notes above the camera. He never changed clothes he was never animated, it was so boring I as sorry i purchased the course.
Date published: 2014-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Your Time Rather if it is for fun, a fascination or even an escape, pondering on the stars often brings back the childhood curiosity in many of us. This same curiosity was a driving force that inspired ancient civilizations to explore, seek knowledge and search for a sense purpose. For those who seek to understand more about our planet, our solar system and our galaxy; this lecture collection will offer exciting facts and valuable details that may completely change your current understanding and appreciation for life and the universe. From the first generation stars to the very real possibility that Mother Nature may extend elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy or perhaps within our solar system; it is all collectively organized and well explained throughout the lectures. Most importantly, the lectures by Professor Laird Close are exciting and passionate. Passion has landed Curiosity on Mars and in the coming years, will change the way we explore our galaxy with adaptive optics; a technique and technology that Professor Close is very Knowledgeable of. I am very fortunate to have learned all that I have with this lecture collection.
Date published: 2014-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Life in Our Universe A fun course to just kick back and listen. The professor guides you on a journey through our solar system and beyond while explaining the ingredients necessary for life. You will learn about the zone of habitability in which a planet should reside to increase its chances for life. You may be shocked to find out how similar Mars is to earth along with some distant moons around Saturn and Jupiter. The Lectures on the Kepler mission are fascinating and reveal that our Milky Way galaxy is flooded with planets around other stars. So, break out the popcorn and puzzle over the probabilities of life and what it might look like somewhere else. -Enjoy!
Date published: 2014-02-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from errors, errors, errors... I usually would not pick on one's small errors, but frequency and nature of errors here just exceeded my tolerance. RNA does not consist of amino acids (proteins do). RNA is a chain if ribonucleic acids, as its abbreviation suggests. This fact renders thought experiment in lecture 8 invalid, as there are only 4 ribonucleic acids (A,C,U,G) as opposed to 20 amino acids. This would lead to quite different figures, when determining probabilities of spontaneous RNA molecule formation. Statement "Nucleosides A and G are going to bond together; C, T, and U are, probably, also going to bond together" is incorrect in more than one way. Purines bond with pyrimidines, not within the groups, and do it in exact manner: A with T or U; G with C. So, chains made of just As and Gs, contemplated by Dr. Close, are not feasible. Also, pyrimidines (C,T,U), not purines are smaller molecules, consisting of just one ring, which are more likely to spontaneously form. How can one speak about astrobiology without understanding basic biochemistry of terrestrial life? Somebody really has to listen to material before it gets released... Also Boiling is massive evaporation, not per see convection-type phenomenon. There are no negative temperatures on Kelvin scale. Must say, I found some astronomy-related material and graphs rather interesting...
Date published: 2013-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exobiology Explained This course is a fairly comprehensive tour of what the lecturer calls Astrobiology - the study of life beyond earth, which is pretty conjectural considering we haven't found evidence of that yet. Life in our Universe combines elements of biology and astrophysics (which I really liked), and for me the course really started to heat up during the last third of the lectures when Dr. Close reviewed topics such as Kepler, SETI, and in particular, the "reality check" on space travel in Lecture 21. This section should give any proponent of UFOs and ancient aliens pause. The only down note in this course was the lecturer's presentation style, which I found to be rote, mundane, and sleep-inducing. I would have preferred a little more energy on the part of Dr. Close. It's a small thing, but this course contains valuable information on the current state of Astrobiology, if the viewer can stay awake.
Date published: 2013-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lecturer habits I have mixed emotions on this course. The content and general presentation is excellent; however, the speaker's use of the word 'actually' is so pervasive it is difficult to avoid listening for the word - which occurs 100-200 times per lecture, and peaks at 8-10 per minute when the topic is particularly interesting; sometimes with substitution of 'basicly'. Good luck, the content is fascinating.
Date published: 2013-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Almost Outstanding To begin, I want to make sure everyone who reads this review understands that I appreciated and liked this course. It was well thought out and well presented and had I not viewed many courses on this basic subject matter, I may well have rated it as outstanding. But, I have previously purchased and viewed many of the Teaching Company courses on astronomy, cosmology and biology and did not find that much material really new to sink my teeth into. I thought much of the beginning material was rather elementary and it was not until later in the course where recent scientific advances such as adoptive optics were covered, was I able to become engrossed. The course material flowed smoothly and it was obvious that Professor Close knew his subject but there was just not that glimmer of sunshine that would have made me become fascinated. If this is your first venture into astronomy/astrobiology then I am convinced you will like the course. If you are comfortable with your knowledge of the solar system and biology of life however, then perhaps you may find this a little boring.
Date published: 2013-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Annoyance Actually I've watched only the first six lectures, but I'm annoyed by Professor Close's overuse of the word "actually." I counted over fifty in one lecture, sometimes three in a single breath! We're used to TV interviews filled with "you know," which, by the way, he uses occasionally, but the "actually"s have gotten to me. Good content, fine visuals. If he would re-do the course - and if he does, please exchange my copy for the new one - without the "actually"s the effort would be worth a rating of "5 excellent."
Date published: 2013-06-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Review The subject of this course is fascinating, and Professor Laird definitely has a wide-ranging knowledge in the field. The course is chock-full of information - much of which is not widely available. However, I found the professor to deliver his material very awkwardly. He also had a tendency to inflate about 10 minutes worth of material into a thirty minute lecture. This course also had the VERY annoying sound-effects associated with text appearing on the video that others have complained of. There was also a huge variation in the level of the course content - at times almost grade-school level and at times college level. So while I definitely learned quite a bit, I was disappointed in the overall product.
Date published: 2013-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from simply... -=AWESOME=- Professor Close puts a broad understanding of astronomy easily within grasp, and I definitely did not feel he was "dumbing it down" so I could understand any of it. He puts an understanding of both our universe and humankind's place in it within reach in at least two ways: both within the distance my mind can easily stretch and also on the television or video player of my choice. I feel very strongly that this course should be made a standard part of all high school curricula. THIS DEFINITELY MATTERS.
Date published: 2013-05-13
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Life in Our Universe
Course Trailer
Is There Life Elsewhere in Our Universe?
1: Is There Life Elsewhere in Our Universe?

Is there life in our universe? As you get an overview of the course-including the five major questions it will endeavor to answer-consider the possibility that life exists in some form in the cosmos. Learn how exponential growth in technological developments is enabling breakthroughs that were recently impossible.

30 min
Bang! A Universe Built for Life
2: Bang! A Universe Built for Life

How did we go from a dead universe to a universe full of life? Begin to answer this question by evaluating the scientific evidence supporting the big bang theory of the universe's creation, and learning the role stars play in creating carbon and the key elements needed for life.

29 min
A Star Is Born-Forming the Solar System
3: A Star Is Born-Forming the Solar System

How do you make a planet? Look at what is currently known about the process by which our solar system's planets formed from billions of small planetesimals, as well as how this process left the universe teaming with asteroids and comets that play an important role in life on Earth.

30 min
The Early Earth and Its Moon
4: The Early Earth and Its Moon

Follow a series of mishaps and cataclysmic events that set the stage for early Earth to finally flourish with life after 650 million years. Learn how a hot core, a large moon, and other properties on Earth helped lead to an active biosphere.

31 min
Impacts-Bringers of Death ... or Life?
5: Impacts-Bringers of Death ... or Life?

Delve into the Late Heavy Bombardment period that kept Earth stuck in a lifeless state for 650 million years, then watch an animation demonstrating the K-T impact event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Consider whether it's possible to protect ourselves from asteroids hurtling toward Earth-and why Hollywood gets it all wrong.

29 min
Evidence of the First Life on Earth
6: Evidence of the First Life on Earth

How has the Earth managed to stay within a moderate range of temperatures for billions of years, despite the atmosphere's wild fluctuations in oxygen? Study how convection, greenhouse gases, and the carbon rock cycle contribute to a powerful system of checks and balances that keep Earth's climate consistent with supporting life. Also, meet some of Earth's earliest life.

31 min
Common Themes for All Life on Earth
7: Common Themes for All Life on Earth

Now that you have covered the key elements necessary for life to exist, take a closer look at the things all life on Earth shares. Learn why the Biosphere 2 experiment in the 1990s failed, examine the behavior of microbes-the most important constituents of our biosphere-and trace life back to your universal ancestor.

30 min
Origin of Terrestrial Life
8: Origin of Terrestrial Life

For something to be "living," it generally must use energy to drive chemical reactions, be capable of reproduction, and undergo some degree of evolution. Sort through science's best educated guesses for how and why life sprang from nonliving matter, including lessons from the groundbreaking Miller-Urey experiment. Watch an animation of protocells growing and splitting to replicate geneti...

30 min
Astrobiology-Life beyond Earth
9: Astrobiology-Life beyond Earth

Why is liquid water so important? Why do icebergs float? After quickly reviewing what you have learned about the requirements for terrestrial life, take a closer look at the "liquid water carbon chemistry juggernaut," which allows organic life to thrive on Earth. Consider whether other liquids could operate as solvents for life.

27 min
Has Mars Always Been Dead?
10: Has Mars Always Been Dead?

Mars ranks as NASA's number one priority in the search for exolife. Here, you delve into why Mars is so intriguing to astrobiologists and what the search has found to date. Start with a comparison of Mars and the Earth, then watch the first-ever observation of water ice on Mars sublimating into vapor.

28 min
Evidence for Fossilized Life from Mars
11: Evidence for Fossilized Life from Mars

In 1996, NASA claimed to have found evidence of past life on Mars inside an unassuming meteor. Evaluate the three points scientists gave in support of the microbes being Martian in origin to determine their validity. Then, learn about the theory of panspermia and meet the water bear, a tiny animal capable of surviving the extreme conditions of outer space.

28 min
Could Life Ever Have Existed on Venus?
12: Could Life Ever Have Existed on Venus?

Venus is the closest planet to the Earth and the next planet moving toward the sun, so it is a logical place to look for life. However, Venus is extremely hot and dry. Could life ever have existed? Explore the nightmarish conditions on Venus and learn why all the water vanished.

31 min
Liquid Assets-The Moons of Jupiter
13: Liquid Assets-The Moons of Jupiter

Gas giant Jupiter is unlikely to inhabit life-but what about its moons? Look quickly at the importance that Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's moons had for the powerful Medici family before moving on to examine the connection between the moons' mean motion resonance and the possibility of subsurface life existing in the ice-covered oceans of Europa, Ganymede, and possibly, Callisto.

31 min
Liquid on Titan and Enceladus
14: Liquid on Titan and Enceladus

Continue traveling to the cold gas giant Saturn and its large moon, Titan. Watch a video featuring actual data taken by the Huygens Probe as it pierces the thick atmosphere and lands on the surface of this frozen world, and witness the surprising Earth-like structures this probe and its mother ship found on their journey to Saturn's moons.

32 min
Discovery of Extrasolar Planets
15: Discovery of Extrasolar Planets

Is our solar system common or rare? As you investigate planets orbiting around other stars, learn how the use of adaptive optics allows extrasolar planetary scientists to discover new alien solar systems with ground telescopes, and explore the three main ways astronomers detect planets: small "radio velocity wobbles," "transits," and direct imaging.

29 min
The Kepler Spacecraft's Planets
16: The Kepler Spacecraft's Planets

The Kepler mission is changing everything we know about extrasolar planets. Learn how this supersensitive-imaging instrument works to monitor 157,000 stars continuously for years and what it has uncovered since launching in 2009. But first, review the transit effect created when a parent star crosses its orbiting planet.

30 min
A Tour of Exotic Alien Solar Systems
17: A Tour of Exotic Alien Solar Systems

Based on data from Kepler, there are thought to be four main classes of transiting planets: hot Jupiters, hot Neptunes, super-Earths, and Earth-like planets. In this lecture, you will look at detailed highlights of the most fascinating examples of each of these new classes of alien worlds, from most to least massive.

31 min
Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life
18: Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life

How common is simple life is in our universe? What about intelligent life? Start to answer these questions by estimating the prevalence of prokaryotic single-celled microbes and reviewing the process of evolution. Evaluate arguments in the book Rare Earth by Ward and Brownlee claiming that while microbial life is common, only Earth has intelligent life. Finally, touch on how aliens might appear.

29 min
SETI-The Search for Intelligent Life
19: SETI-The Search for Intelligent Life

In a lecture that "skims right on the edge of science fact and science fiction," delve into the search for extraterrestrial life, or SETI, as the method used to gauge the likelihood of intelligent communicating civilizations is known. Look closely at the Drake Equation-the mathematical rubric commonly used in the field of SETI-and consider the challenge of communicating across our enormo...

31 min
The Fermi Paradox-Where Is Everyone?
20: The Fermi Paradox-Where Is Everyone?

After 50 years of SETI, we have zero hard evidence of alien civilizations, "cosmic wanderlust" resulting in Earth visitations, or UFOs being extraterrestrial in nature, despite-or perhaps because of-the expansiveness of the galaxy. Speculate on reasons for, and solutions to, this so-called Fermi Paradox.

31 min
Space Travel-A Reality Check
21: Space Travel-A Reality Check

Space is so vast that inventing a method of faster-than-light travel is the only way humans could conceivably travel the cosmos conveniently. How hard is space travel, really? In this mind-bending lecture, review the obstacles to space travel and consider their theoretical solutions-from combining matter and antimatter into energy, to taking "short cuts" via warp drive and wormholes.

32 min
Terraforming a Planet
22: Terraforming a Planet

Terraforming is a new scientific concept whereby an uninhabitable planetary environment is engineered to become more Earth-like to support human life. Explore how this complex process would play out on the two planets considered potential candidates, Mars and Venus, to fully understand the individual steps involved and the technologies necessary to achieve those steps.

30 min
The Future of Terrestrial Life
23: The Future of Terrestrial Life

Professor Close highlights why we shouldn't be complacent about the long-term viability of Earth and presents the timescale in which humans will need to leave Earth or become vulnerable to extinction. Inspect historical evidence indicating that Earth is warming, and learn what will happen to the atmosphere in the future.

32 min
The Search for Another Earth
24: The Search for Another Earth

Now that you've seen why humanity will eventually have to leave Earth, consider astronomers' next steps, challenges, and planned missions. Examine why specialized optical systems called coronagraphs are necessary to detect habitable Earths, and how the use of direct imaging spectra is crucial to identifying whether the biomarkers of life are present on other worlds.

36 min
Laird Close

We are wonderers and explorers by nature-and we are just starting to set our sights on the stars, setting the stage for mankind's biggest adventure yet!


The University of Arizona


The University of Arizona

About Laird Close

Dr. Laird Close is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Arizona. Awarded a Canadian (study abroad) Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council scholarship while attending The University of British Columbia, he then earned his Ph.D. in Adaptive Optics from the renowned University of Arizona Astronomy Department where he now teaches. Professor Close has been highlighted as an outstanding professor and mentor by his university, and in 2004, he was honored with a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award, which is awarded to the top few percent of young science professors in America. He has also won major awards from the NSF's Major Research Instrumentation, Advanced Technologies, and Instrumentations program, and its Astronomy and Astrophysics program. Dr. Close has additionally won support from numerous NASA Origins of Solar Systems grants and is a member of NASA's astrobiology institute. While a researcher at the University of Hawaii, he discovered the first moon around an asteroid with a full orbit. Serving as Deputy Director for Adaptive Optics at the European Southern Observatory in 1998, he was the first instrument scientist for the most successful adaptive optics camera in the Southern Hemisphere. As a leader in brown dwarf and extrasolar planet high-contrast imaging astrophysics, he has invented and helped develop several cameras for the world's largest telescopes. Professor Close is the principal scientist of the 6.5m Magellan Adaptive Optics extrasolar planet imager, located in the high Atacama Desert of Chile.

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