"Are we alone in the Universe"? A question as hard to answer as it is old.
Armed with expertise ranging from biology (Charles Cockell) to planet formation (Ken Rice) to the origins of the Universe (Anupam Mazumdar), our team has tried to build the first “cosmobiological” model to explore the habitability of the entire local Universe in its entirety, thereby seeking out the galaxies that are most hospitable to complex life as we know it. Recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, we used the locally observed "Fundamental metallicity relation" linking the stellar mass, ongoing rate of star formation and metal content to show blob-like giant ellipticals are the most probable “cradles of life” in the Universe. While the very large number of stars they contain means that potentially they have the largest number of planets, the low rate of supernova explosions ensures that most of these planets remain unmolested by harmful radiation!
This paper has been covered by a number of excellent press releases!
Image Credit: NASA