All posts by William E. (Bill) Smith

William E. Smith, BSc (Special Maths), MBA, CITP, CEng, AKC In 1996 at the age of 50, Bill took 2 years off to do an MBA at UVIC. This led to a work term in Malaysia with Microsoft where represented Microsoft on the revolutionary Malaysia Smart School project. From 1998-2002 Bill was employed by Microsoft in London and Paris. In 2004, Bill was invited to teach a pre-MBA boot camp at Sharif University in Tehran (The MIT of IRAN). Bill moved back to Victoria in 2005 and since that time has focused his time and energy between managing the IT aspects of his family’s 25 year old successful travel agency, Athlone Travel; contributing to local municipal committees; and continuing his study of physics and astrobiology. The latter is a lifetime passion, from his undergraduate days in London, where he studied relativity under the great scientist Sir Herman Bondi, later to become Head of the European Space Agency (ESA). Over the past 2 years, 2013-2014, Bill has become a friend and colleague of one of Bondi’s peers, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, and has dedicated his time to the study of Astrobiology co-authoring two published academic papers with Wickramasinghe. Bill shares the Chandra Wickramasinghe vision that "Life is a Cosmic Phenomenon" and takes pleasure in the fact that he lived to see a time when Panspermia finally moved into mainstream science - in 2013 with the Kepler Mission discoveries.

2017-11-22: Are We the Aliens We Seek?

“Aliens have reached Earth, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, basing their dramatic findings on a new study of fast-moving extraterrestrial dust that constantly rains down on our atmosphere. These particles serve as tiny ‘spaceships’ for microorganisms from alien worlds that traverse the vastness of interstellar space for eons before reaching Earth. This dusty downpour could also collide with biological particles in Earth’s atmosphere with enough energy to send them careening into space, and conceivably onwards to other planets in other solar systems.

Astrobiologists earlier found evidence of microorganisms reaching the planet in air samples taken at extreme altitudes, and from the discovery in 1984 of fossilised worms in a meteorite from Mars. Exciting data from the 1976 Viking space probes, which actually confirmed the presence of Martian microorganisms but were overlooked for 25 years by careless scientists, back these findings. In 2006, researchers from Columbia University discovered traces of amino acids – the building blocks of life – on meteorites that landed in Australia and the US less than a hundred years ago.

Some scientists argue that these extraterrestrial amino acids mixed with moisture in Earth’s ancient atmosphere to produce an acidic “soup” that then nourished the planet’s first organisms. This ties in with the panspermia theory, which says that outer space seeded Earth with comet-borne primitive life forms over four billion years ago. Panspermia never found favour with modern-day scientists till the 1970s, when the late Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramesinghe came across “traces of life” in interstellar dust. When cultured, two species of bacteria and a microfungus found in space rocks turned out to be similar to terrestrial organisms – just as panspermia had predicted. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe believed that a torrent of such “life-altering stuff from space” reaches Earth in cycles related to solar activity and has affected the evolution of terrestrial life. If this is indeed the reality, the ‘miracle’ of life could happen anywhere, and our microbial ancestors, or more evolved cousins, are scattered like chaff throughout the universe” , by   ON 

 

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2017-9-27 : Sri Lankan Scientist of the Year 2017

Ada Derana Sri Lankan of the Year 2017, felicitating outstanding individuals and groups of the island nation, was held for the second consecutive year at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo on Wednesday September 27, 2017. 

Fourteen awards in total were presented to a range of individuals from a range of fields and professions. 

2017 Winners:

Sports – Mr Dinesh Priyantha Herath
Entertainer Classical Category – Mr Ravibandu Vidyapathi
Entertainment Distinguished Achievement – Kala Keerthi Irangani Serasinghe
Entrepreneur – Aban Pestonjee
Global Businessman – Mahesh Amalean
Global Scientist – Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe
Global Entertainer – Mr Rohan de Silva
Global Professional – Mr Cecil Balmond
Popular Category – Mr Chamara Weerasinghe
Public Service – Mr Gamini Wijesinghe
Unsung Hero – Mrs Lily Violet & Ms. Thilini Nadeeka Shalwin
Bravery Award – Mr Naveen Danushka & Nihal Sarath Kumara & Mr. Eranga Wikumsiri
Lifetime Achievement – Sri Lankaabhimanya Lester James Peiris
ICON of the Year – Mr Muttiah Muralitharan

The Ada Derana ‘Sri Lankan of the Year’ is designed as an exhaustive, rigorous and credible platform to nominate and select Sri Lankans whose dedication and commitment in their chosen fields have inspired pride and patriotism.

In recognising such achievement, it is hoped that fellow Sri Lankans, especially the younger generations, will be inspired to emulate the hard work, passion, and vision of their idols.

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2017-8-3 : Sir John Kotelawala Defence University,  Sri Lanka

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe’s address to the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University,  Sri Lanka upon the award of an Honorary Professorship at that University in August 3-4, 2017.

“Each year, the university attracts more than 2000 researchers from all over the world and it receives more than 500 submissions of research papers. Out of a similar number of submissions, 320 papers have been selected to be presented at this year’s conference.

This year, the organizers have invited the world renowned Sri Lankan scholars –  Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe, an astronomer and astrobiologist residing in UK, and Dr  Bandula Wije, a scientist and a Biomedical Engineer, and KDU expects bestow Honorary Professorships on these two scientists in recognition of their invaluable contribution to the advancement of science.”

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