Guillermo Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture

Guillermo Gonzalez is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1993 from the University of Washington. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin and at the University of Washington and has received fellowships, grants and awards from such institutions as NASA, the University of Washington, the Templeton Foundation, Sigma Xi (scientific research society), and the National Science Foundation. He has taught astronomy and physics courses at the University of Washington, Iowa State University, Grove City College, and Ball State University.

Gonzalez has extensive experience in observing and analyzing data from ground-based observatories, including work at McDonald Observatory, Apache Point Observatory and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. He is a world-class expert on the astrophysical requirements for habitability and on habitable zones and a co-founder of the "Galactic Habitable Zone" concept, which captured the October 2001 cover story of Scientific American. Astronomers and astrobiologists around the world are pursuing research based on his work on exoplanet host stars, the Galactic Habitable Zone and red giants.

Gonzalez has also published over 90 articles in refereed astronomy and astrophysical journals including The Astrophysical Journal, The Astronomical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Icarus and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. He also is the co-author of the second edition of Observational Astronomy, an advanced college astronomy textbook.

In 2024, he co-authored the YA novel The Farm at the Center of the Universe with Jonathan Witt. In 2004, he co-authored The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery with Jay W. Richards. He's also an affiliate of Biologic Institute.

Archives

The Privileged Planet (20th Anniversary Edition)

How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed For Discovery
Are we just an accident of cosmic evolution? Is Earth a “lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark” as the late Carl Sagan put it? Or is there more to the story? In this provocative book, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards marshal a staggering array of scientific evidence to counter the modern dogma that Earth is nothing more than the winner of a blind cosmic lottery. When The Privileged Planet was first published in 2004, it garnered both praise and rage. But its argument has stood the test of time. In this completely revised 20th anniversary edition, Gonzalez and Richards show how thousands of discoveries of extrasolar planets over the last two decades have only strengthened their case. They take readers on a mind-expanding journey through our solar

A Reading From The Farm at the Center of the Universe

Is there evidence of purpose in the universe? Or is life just a collection of accidental processes that did not have us in mind? On a weekend visit to his grandparents' farm, Isaac is caught between two very different worldviews. He must choose for himself which makes the most sense. On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid reads an excerpt from The Farm at the Center of the Universe, a new young adult novel from astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez and author Jonathan Witt.

New Novel Invites Teens to Ponder our Privileged Planet

There's a wealth of books covering the arguments for intelligent design, and yet one type of book has so far been missing - a young adult novel. That changes with the release of The Farm at the Center of the Universe, a new teen novel from astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez and author Jonathan Witt, now available from Discovery Institute Press. On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid sits down with Gonzalez and Witt to discuss how the book came about and what readers can hope to gain from it.

The Farm at the Center of the Universe

Why did Isaac’s father have to die so young? Isaac’s older cousin Charlie — a science teacher — says he knows why. Nature is pitiless. There’s no God. No afterlife. Just atoms in the void and the struggle for survival. Charlie says a week at their grandparents’ farm, seeing animals get killed and eaten, will prove it. But at the farm, both of them get more than they bargained for. And soon Isaac finds himself caught in a battle of wits between two men, and facing a choice he alone can

Carl Sagan Wrong about “Pale Blue Dot,” Says Astrobiologist

On today’s ID the Future from the archive, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez unpacks one of his chapters in the book The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, edited by episode host Casey Luskin. Gonzalez discusses the fine-tuning that makes Earth possible and why our existence is far from insignificant.

A Privileged Place for Life and Discovery

On this ID the Future host and geologist Casey Luskin continues his conversation with astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez about the many ways Earth’s place in the cosmos is fine tuned for life. In this second half of their conversation, Gonzalez zooms out to discuss the galactic habitable zone and the cosmic habitable age. Luskin says that the combination of exquisite cosmic and local fine tuning strongly suggests intelligent design, but he asks Gonzalez whether he thinks these telltale clues favor theism over deism? That is, does any of the evidence suggest a cosmic designer who is more than just the clockmaker God of the deists who, in the words of Stephen Dedalus, “remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his

The Problem of Earth Privilege: It’s Getting Worse

On today’s ID the Future, astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of The Privileged Planet, provides a rapid survey of some of the growing evidence that Earth is finely tuned in numerous ways to allow for life. He draws a helpful distinction between local fine tuning and universal fine tuning. And he tells us about the many extra-solar planets astronomers have discovered in recent years and how all that new data continues to undermine the misguided assumption (encouraged by the misnamed “Copernican Principle”) that Earth is just a humdrum planet. Far from it, Gonzalez argues. The conversation is occasioned by Gonzalez’s essay in a newly released anthology, Science and Faith in