In the early 1980's I published a paper describing how we could detect exoplanets (planets in other solar systems) using photometry. People pooh-poohed the idea. They said that there was no technique for making these kinds of observations. But now Kepler (for which I am the Principal Investigator) is orbiting in space and making observations; observations that contribute to our understanding of how planetary systems form and evolve from the gas and dust disks that give rise to both the stars and their planets. The data from Kepler will have a major impact, especially if we find lots of planets like Earth orbiting in the habitable zones of their stars. Then we'll know it's likely that we aren't alone, and that someday we might be able to join other intelligent life in the Universe.