The Road Map to First Alien Contact: A Bilingual Public Panel

The Road Map to First Alien Contact: A Bilingual Public Panel

How do scientists search for life on other planets? How do scientists distinguish between living organisms and non-living systems? How could we communicate with intelligent aliens?

Join us on May 1st at 7pm ET for a bilingual panel discussion featuring researchers of different stripes, who will answer your questions about the search for extra-terrestrial life.

Date: Wednesday, May 1st, 2024
Time: 7pm ET (doors open at 6:45 pm)
Location: McConnell Engineering Building Room 204 (3480 Rue University)

Can’t join in person? Join us live on YouTube:

Everyone is welcome! No tickets or registration needed. This panel will be bilingual; we’ll be taking questions in French and English.

Meet our panelists

Jessica Coon - CRBLMJessica Coon is a professor of linguistics at McGill University and Canada Research Chair in syntax and indigenous languages. Her work focuses on the range and limits of cross-linguistic variation (among human languages!), with a special focus on Mayan and Iroquoian languages. Her expertise in linguistic fieldwork and language universals led to her role as the linguistics expert consultant for the 2016 film Arrival.

René Doyon is a professor of physics at l’Université de Montréal and the Canada Research Chair in Experimental Astrophysics and Exoplanetary Sciences. He is also the Director of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets and the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic. He develops state-of-the-art instruments, including the Canadian NIRISS instrument aboard the Webb Space Telescope, to discover exoplanets and study their atmospheres, with a long-term goal to detect a biosignature—that is, a spectral fingerprint of biological activity from an exoplanet atmosphere.


Dr. Jackie Goordial in front of a brick wallJackie Goordial is an Assistant Professor of environmental microbiology and astrobiologist at the University of Guelph. Her group investigates microbial diversity and activity in extreme environments on Earth. Her group’s research helps shed light on what life could look like on cold planetary bodies such as Mars, or the moons Europa and Enceladus.






This event is organised by the Trottier Space Institute at McGill (TSI) and the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx).