A highly interdisciplinary team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the Applied Physics Laboratory combine their expertise to address fundamental questions about the origins, evolution, and prevalence of life in the universe. In addition to providing guidance for research, the team administers graduate and undergraduate lecture courses on these topics.
The institute also hosts the Planets, Life, and the Universe (PLU) Lecture Series, which brings high-profile speakers from prominent universities and organizations to campus to discuss current topics in astrobiology. The presentations are available live and as webcasts online.
To foster interdisciplinary research between universities and institutions.
By bringing together experts from a wide range of scientific fields, we encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and address key astrobiology questions in novel and creative ways.
To train the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers.
Our faculty reaches beyond astrophysics, planetary sciences, and biological sciences to build projects that involve the most talented students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.
To engage the community at large with exciting research and discussion.
Our lecture series provides opportunities to learn about the latest research to our students, colleagues, and anyone interested in the quest to find life elsewhere in the universe.
Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series
The Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series is supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Department of Biology and the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Johns Hopkins University, and the Ernst Cloos Memorial Fund.
Phoebe Cohen (Dept. of Geosciences, Williams College) The origins of complex life lie in the Neoproterozoic Era, which began 1,000 million years ago. How, why, and when complex life,...
Katherine H. Freeman (Dept. of Geosciences, Penn State University) Biomarkers are organic molecular remnants of past life preserved in ancient soils and sediments. We use both the...
Mary Beth Wilhelm (NASA Ames Research Center) Desert environments on Earth are colonized by organisms adapted to desiccation. However, the limits of adaptation are not well understood. ...