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Astrobiology courses at UIUC:


Fall 2014 Semester

GEOL 593 Life in the Universe

Astrobiology is the study of the origin and evolution of life in the universe. This truly interdisciplinary field brings together researchers from such disparate fields as astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry, and atmospheric sciences to ask fundamental questions about life in the universe: How did life originate? How does it evolve and spread across a planet? How has it impacted the geology, geochemistry, oceanography, and atmospheric evolution of its host planet? How might we detect life outside of Earth? This seminar will allow students to explore a range of fundamental questions within the field of astrobiology by focusing on a different topic each week. This seminar will be largely student-driven, and each week a group of your peers will present some basic background information about a particular topic and then lead discussion about a paper within that topic. We aim to be informal and discussion-oriented, with the goal of accommodating student interest and background knowledge. We encourage upper-level undergraduate and graduate students from a range of backgrounds (astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and others) with an interest in astrobiology to join! S/U Grading. 2 Credit Hours.

The direct link to the online Class Schedule listing is




Spring 2013 Semester

ASTR330 Extraterrestrial Life

Scientific discussion of the search for extraterrestrial life. Topics include: cosmic evolution (protons to heavy elements to molecules); terrestrial evolution (chemical, biological, and cultural); high technology searches for extraterrestrial life in the solar system (Mars, Venus, outer planets); and beyond the solar system (Drake equation and current SETI projects).