Next instalment of the KPU-Science World Speaker Series tackles the big question

Fri, Apr 22, 2016

Vancouver, B.C. – “Is there anybody out there?” is a question of galactic proportions that has plagued humankind for centuries. While the answer remains elusive, science has progressively gotten closer to determining whether there are planets like ours elsewhere in the universe.

Scientists knew nothing other than the nine – now eight – planets in our solar system until 1995, when speculations were confirmed with the announcement of the first definitive detection of an extrasolar planet orbiting a star some 50 light years away.

Since then, thousands of other exoplanets – planets orbiting stars outside of our solar system – have been discovered. Tiny and extremely far away, many questions remain about what they look like, and whether they share similarities to Earth.

On April 26, Jana Kolac will address these questions and more at the final instalment of the 2015-16 Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Science World Speaker Series. Exoplanets: What are they and how can we find them? will take place from 7-9 p.m. at the TELUS World of Science in Vancouver.

Kolac received her master of science degree in physics from Charles University in Prague before moving to Canada in 1988. She has taught at Douglas College, Capilano College and BCIT, and has taught physics, as well as astronomy for non-science majors, at KPU since 2000.

“Exploring our universe and the possibility of discovering new planets is an exciting topic that always stirs up fascinating conversation. Jana’s talk is a wonderful opportunity for the public to learn more about exoplanets, and to be able to ask questions of someone who is an expert in the field and passionate about the subject,” said Dr. Betty Worobec, dean of KPU's Faculty of Science.  

The KPU-Science World Speaker Series aims to engage, entertain and educate guests with fascinating insights into the world of science. Previous talks featured the internationally acclaimed Borealis String Quartet on music and science; Dr. Kent Mullinix on sustainable food systems for the 21st century; Dr. David P. Burns on citizen science; Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani on the psychology of good and evil, and; Dr. Farhad Dastur on the quest for meaning in the age of anxiety, conspiracies and superstitions.

To RSVP for the event, please visit

KPU and Science World British Columbia will continue the series through 2016-2017, launching the new lineup of talks with a presentation by one of KPU’s brewing instructors, titled From Barley to Beer – Sensory Tour and Summary of the Malting and Brewing Process. The event will take place mid-June, and more information will become available at

Science World British Columbia is a charitable organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at   

photo of Jana Kolac is available on Flickr.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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