Students : please access the Lecture pages (password protected)
The lecture pages contain the lecture slides, exercises, and all the supporting material.
Background / MaterialThe lecture aims at introducing the broad field of Astrobiology.
We will start by defining life and understanding the one example that we have: life on Earth (lectures 2-7). We will then explore the path from the Big Bang, through the formation of chemical elements and pre-biotic chemistry, to the formation of planets and eventually the formation of Earth (lectures 8-10). Next, we will learn about the Origin of Life on Earth, its evolution and the co-evoluotion of the planet atmospheres, including major extinction events (lectures 11-15).
In the last third, we will look for habitable places beyond Earth. First in the Solar System, on Mars and the moons one giant planets, then beyond our planetary system on exoplanets, identifying the observational methods and best biosignatures accessible today and in the near future (lectures 16-19). We will finish with some thoughts on extra-terrestrial intelligence, and societal implication of finding life beyond Earth (lectures 20-21).
The second hour of each lecture will be interactive.
Each student will prepare once in the semester a short presentation (15min) summarizing of a book
chapter or research paper [topics to be distritbuted in the first lectures]. This will allow us to
subsequently discuss in more depth a specialized topic related to the lecture.
Homework: typically consists of a short hand-in question per week, discussed after hand-out the
following week in class.
The mandatory textbook is:
The lectures will start in the first week of the Semester: April 9, 2018.