Astrobiologist Dr. Margaret Turnbull of Antigo will present “The Search For Life Beyond Earth” at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of T.B. Scott Library, on Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m.  Admission to the program, as with all T.B. Scott Free Library programs, is free and open to the public.
The program will be held at Prairie River Middle School Auditorium in Merrill, to accommodate the expected audience.  Turnbull’s talk will follow a brief business meeting of the Friends.

While the program is free of charge, for those interested, Friends of T.B. Scott Library memberships may be purchased at a cost of $5 for the calendar year. The Friends of T.B. Scott Library exist to provide financial support for library facilities and services, and to encourage library support and use.
Dr. Turnbull returned to her native Antigo about a decade ago, and presently leads a science team for the New Worlds Observer, a proposed mission to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars. Prior to that, Maggie acquired an international reputation through her work in California, Arizona, and Maryland. Turnbull even has an asteroid named after her (7863 Turnbull).

During a four-year stint at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Turnbull used several star catalogs to develop HAB-CAT, the Catalog of Potentially Habitable Stellar Systems. Other leaders in the field call her the person who knows the most about target stars with potential for having solar systems capable of supporting intelligent life.

Maggie’s fascination with astronomy began when she was in kindergarten, and she switched her major at UW-Madison to biology only because it seemed a more practical course of study. When Turnbull saw Jodie Foster play an astrobiologist in search of intelligent life from another planet in the film Contact, she knew exactly what her mission in life was to be.
“It’s rare for a community of Merrill’s size to hear a scientist of Maggie Turnbull’s reputation and achievement,” notes library assistant director Don Litzer, who adds, “The Friends and Dr. Turnbull have done a great job to make possible what promises to be an exciting program!”

Dr. Turnbull was featured in the April 3 issue of Wausau’s City Pages; she’s also featured in an article on the Web at For more information about T.B. Scott Library’s activities and resources, visit