Chandra Wickramasinghe bigraphy, stories - Astronomer

Chandra Wickramasinghe : biography

20 January 1939 -

Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe (born 20 January 1939) is a Sri Lankan-born British mathematician. He is currently Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, a private company and charity.

He was a student and collaborator of Fred Hoyle. Their joint work on the infrared spectra of interstellar grains led to developing the hypothesis of panspermia. It proposes that cosmic dust in the interstellar medium and in comets is partly organic, and that life on Earth was 'seeded' from space rather than arising through abiogenesis. His latest work attempts to extend the hypothesis of cometary panspermia to that of cosmic ancestry in collaboration with Carl H. Gibson, Rhawn Joseph and Rudolph Schild. He is also making further identifications of spectral features in comets and in the interstellar medium.

He has advocated that elementary living organisms like the lichen-forming alga spores present in the Red rain in Kerala are of extraterrestrial origin and that pathogens as the SARS virus also arrived on Earth from deep space carried in asteroids and comets. He has attempted to generate controversies in both academic and public circles, by bringing his arguments into the discussion about creationism and evolutionism. Though Chandra Wickramasinghe's latest speculations have no support from the scientific community, he has fascinated some public media.

Participation in the creation-evolution debate

Wickramasinghe and his mentor Fred Hoyle have also used their data to argue in favor of cosmic ancestry, . Published in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (2003). Authors: Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. ISBN 0-671-49263-2Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution by Wickramasinghe and Hoyle. (1993)Evolution From Space (The Omni Lecture) and Other Papers on the Origin of Life. By Fred Hoyle (Enslow; Hillside, NJ; 1982). By Alec Grynspan ( 9 November 1997) and against evolution.

Wickramasinghe attempts to present scientific evidence to support the notion of cosmic ancestry and "the possibility of high intelligence in the Universe and of many increasing levels of intelligence converging toward a God as an ideal limit." [Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview] By Iris Fry. Rutgers University Press, Feb 1, 2000

During the 1981 scientific creationist trial in Arkansas, Wickramasinghe was the only scientist testifying for the defense of creationism and against evolution.. By Allene Phy-Olsen. In addition, he wrote that the Archaeopteryx fossil finding is a forgery, a charge that the expert scientific community considers an "absurd" and "ignorant" statement.

Detection of living cells in the stratosphere

On the 20 January 2001 the Indian Space Research Organisation conducted a balloon flight from Hyderabad, India to collect stratospheric dust from a height of 41 km with a view to testing for the presence of living cells. The collaborators on this project included a team of UK scientists led by Wickramasinghe. In a paper presented at a SPIE conference in San Diego in 2002 the detection of evidence for viable microorganisms from 41 km was presented. However, the experiment did not present evidence as to whether the findings are incoming microbes from space rather than microbes carried up to 41 km from the surface of the Earth.

In 2005 the ISRO group carried out a second stratospheric sampling experiment from 41 km altitude and reported the isolation of three new species of bacteria including one that they named Janibacter hoylei sp.nov. in honour of Fred Hoyle.Shivaji, S., Chaturvedi, P., Begum, Z. et al, 2009. Janibacter hoylei sp.nov., Bacillus isronensis sp.nov. and Bacillus aryabhattai sp.nov. isolated from cryotubes used for collecting air from the upper atmosphere, Int.J.Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 59, 2977-2986 doi:10.1099/ijs.0.002527-0 However, these facts do not prove that bacteria on Earth originated in the cosmic environment.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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