Proseminar zur Astrobiologie (WS 2017/18)

Dozent: Jürgen Schaffner-Bielich

Zeit und Ort: Mittwochs 10-12 Uhr, Raum Phys _0.111 (Großer Hörsaal)

Ausgabe der Themen (siehe unten): Oktober 18 und 25, 10-12 Uhr, Raum _0.111

Die Präsentationen werden entweder wöchentlich oder als Blockseminar am Ende des Semester gehalten.

In diesem Seminar wird eigenständig ein Thema der Astrobiologie erarbeitet und die Präsentation in einem Seminarvortrag geübt.

Dieses Seminar kann für Studenten der Physik für das Nebenfach Astronomie im Modul Astro 3 (früher AstroB)
oder als Proseminar für den Master in Physik verwendet werden.

Studenten anderer Fachbereiche sind herzlich willkommen. Auf Wunsch kann ein Schein ausgestellt werden.

Details zu den Präsentationen werden in das E-Learning-Portal bereitgestellt.


Seminar course on astrobiology. The presentations can be also given in English.
As a guideline we use the topics as listed in the textbook

Charles Cockell: Astrobiology

Handout of the topics: October 18 and 25, 10am-12pm, room _0.111

Topics of the presentation (with the name of the speaker allocated so far):

1) Astrobiology and life
(Introduction, what is astrobiology, what is life, history)

2) Matter, the stuff of life (Hasan Karadas)
(matter, isotopes, phase diagrams, matter and light)

3) Life’s structure: building the molecules
(essential elements, proteins, chirality, solvent of life, alternative chemistry)

4) Life’s structure: building cells from molecules
(types of cells, membranes, RNA/DNA, cell reproduction, moving and communicating, viruses)

5) Energy for life
(ATP, (an)aerobic respiration, fermentation, chemoautotrophs, (an)oxygenic photosynthesis, thermodynamics of energy and life, life in extremes)

6) The tree of life
(phylogenetic tree, endosymbiosis, horizontal gene transfer, LUCA, alien life)

7) The limits of biospace (Mark Schleifenbaum)
(thermophiles, salt-loving organisms, life in toxic brews, polyextremophiles, habitability)

8) Formation of the elements of life
(Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, formation of planets, meteorites)

9) Astrochemistry – carbon in space
(molecular clouds, interstellar grains, comets, chirality)

10) The early Earth (the first billion years)
(formation of the Moon, early oceans, early crust, early atmosphere, late heavy bombardement)

11) Origin of life
(RNA world, early cells, hydrothermal vents, impact craters)

12) Early life on Earth
(isotopic fractionization, morphological evidence for early life, biomarkers)

13) History of the Earth
(geological history of the Earth, plate tectonics, dating rocks)

14) The rise of oxygen (Olivia Pfeil-Gardiner)
(measuring oxygen through time, source and sinks of oxygen, snowball Earth episodes)

15) Mass extinctions (Zoe Lange)
(causes of mass extinctions, impacts and extinction, the five big extinctions of the phanerozoic)

16) The habitability of planets
(habitable zone, greenhouse effect, carbonate-silicate cycle, plate tectonics, anthropic prinicple)

17) Astrobiology of Mars
(martian history, missions to Mars, liquid water and Mars, Viking program and search for life, martian meterorites, panspermia)

18) The moons of the giant planets
(Europa, Io, Enceladus, Titan, Pluto, …)

19) Exoplanets: the search for other habitable worlds (Parit Mehta)
(detecting exoplanets, exoplanet properties, biosignatures)

20) The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (Yannik Hein)
(Drake equation, communication, Fermi paradox, classifying civilisations)

21) Our civilisation
(threats to civilisation, climate change, settling the solar system, sociology, interstellar travel)