Planets, Life, and the Universe Lectures and Events

The Planets, Life, and the Universe lecture series brings high-profile speakers to the JHU/STScI campus to discuss current topics of interest in astrobiology and draws a large and steadily increasing audience. It 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.

Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series presentations are also webcast live. Webcasts can be viewed at the STScI webcast site during the scheduled presentation, and can be found afterward in the STScI webcast archive.

Organizing committee: Jocelyne DiRuggiero (chair), Maya Gomes, Sarah Horst, Peter McCullough, David Sing, Sabine Stanley, and Kevin Stevenson



Find an Event

Listing Results

Results: 68
3 Apr 2020
Lectures Life’s Rich Pageant: The Amazing Feats of Marine Microbes, and What They Tell Us About Life On Earth and Beyond
Speaker: Peter R. Girguis (Harvard University) Oceanography came to fruition in the 19th century, when scientists set out to survey the ocean — from surface to seafloor— and determine if and...
Read More
6 Mar 2020
Lectures TESS and the Search for Rocky Planets
Speaker: David W. Latham (Harvard University)
Read More
7 Feb 2020
Lectures RNA and Protein - A Match Made in the Hadean
Speaker: Loren Williams (Georgia Institute of Technology) The ribosome, made from RNA and protein, is responsible for translation of mRNA to coded protein in all living systems. The significance of translation...
Read More
6 Dec 2019
Lectures Reconstructing Life History Before LUCA
Speaker: Gregory P. Fournier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Origin of Life studies primarily consist of two sets of inferences:  bottom-up, which infer plausible scenarios of abiogenesis...
Read More
1 Nov 2019
Lectures The Preservation, Distribution, and Detectability of Lipid Biomarkers in the Atacama Desert and Implications for Mars
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.  We surveyed...
Read More
4 Oct 2019
Lectures Prebiotic Chemistry and the Origins of Life: What We Know and What We Don’t
Speaker: Henderson (Jim) Cleaves (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Carnegie Institution of Washington) The field of astrobiology, the effort to understand the origin, distribution and future of life...
Read More
3 May 2019
Lectures Tracking Life’s Fingerprints with Molecules and Isotopes
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 distributions of biomarkers...
Read More
5 Apr 2019
Lectures Untangling the Role of Environmental and Ecological Influences on the Proterozoic Rise of Complex Life
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, including multicellularity,...
Read More
1 Mar 2019
Lectures Lessons from the Deep Earth for the Search of Life in the Solar System and Beyond
Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto) The recent National Academies Report - the 2018 Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe emphasized,...
Read More
7 Dec 2018
Lectures Unlocking the Secrets of Nearby Exoplanets with NASA’s TESS Mission
George Ricker (MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research) Successfully launched in April 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets...
Read More
2 Nov 2018
Lectures Photosynthesis: A Planetary Revolution
Woodward Fischer (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Caltech) Photosynthesis is the most important bioenergetic innovation in the history of the biosphere and it engendered Earth’s...
Read More
4 May 2018
Lectures Planets in a Bottle: Exploring Planetary Atmospheres in a Lab
Sarah Horst (Johns Hopkins University, Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences) From exoplanets, with their surprising lack of spectral features, to Titan and its characteristic haze layer, numerous planetary...
Read More
6 Apr 2018
Lectures Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet
Johanna Teske (Carnegie Origins Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Observatories) To most thoroughly understand exoplanetary systems, in both individual and statistical senses, requires a thorough characterization...
Read More
2 Mar 2018
Lectures How Microbes Promote Fossilization and Become Fossilized
Tanja Bosak (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) How to recognize signs of life in past sediments from Earth or other planets? Sedimentary record from the first 80% of Earth’s history preserves...
Read More
2 Feb 2018
Lectures The Search for Evidence of Life in the Subsurface Ocean of Enceladus
Alfonso F. Davila (NASA Ames Research Center, Exobiology Branch) Are we alone in the Universe? The search for life beyond Earth is the most compelling scientific question of our time; a positive detection...
Read More

For general questions and information, or to join our mailing list, please contact us: