Astrobiology & the Origins of Life

Conference: May 24 - 28, 2005 (Programme)
Workshop: May 30 - June 4, 2005 (Programme)

Astrobiology and Origins of LifeThe then newly formed Origins Institute at McMaster University organized an interdisciplinary conference and workshop over a three-week period in Spring 2005.

New observations of exolsolar planets, search for life in solar system, and advances in genomics and biodiversity make astrobiology one of the most exciting and important emergent topics in modern science. We grouped topics under two themes: Planetary Science and Evolutionary Biology. Talks on these two themes were interwoven during the conference week, with an aim of maximizing the degree of communication between different disciplines.

Planetary Theme

  • Star formation
  • Planet formation
  • Observations of exosolar planets
  • Search for life elsewhere - Mars, Europa ...
  • Organic molecules in space and delivery of organics to Earth
  • Geochemistry - energy sources for life

Evolutionary Biology Theme

  • The tree of life - molecular phylogenetics
  • The earliest organisms - origin, evolution, metabolism, fossil evidence...
  • Extremophiles
  • Cellular evolution - the origin and evolution of eukaryotic cells and organelles
  • Origin and evolution of multicellular life-forms
  • Evolutionary theory - complexity, autocatalysis, replicators...


Organizing Committee

Ralph Pudritz
Director of the Origins Institute

Jon Stone
Associate Director of the Origins Institute

Paul Higgs and James Wadsley
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Brian Golding
Department of Biology

Canadian Space AgencySupported in part by
the Canadian Space Agency