Astrobiology

Scuola Normale Superiore
LEVEL
PhD
TYPE
Course
MODES
-
LANGUAGE
-
ECTS
6
PERIOD
01/11/2023 to 20/06/2024

Course Description

The aim of the course is to provide a multi-disciplinary overview on the current state of knowledge about the origin and evolution of Life, from the formation of simple molecules in space to the development of prebiotic complex molecular systems and to the appearance of simple living organisms on Earth. First, we will provide basic principles on the formation of molecules in the interstellar medium, we will discuss the main physical processes responsible for the star formation and planet formation processes, and we will present the main techniques available nowadays for detecting extrasolar systems. Based on our knowledge about the Solar System, the necessary conditions required for the development of Life in our Galaxy will be addressed. The physical and chemical conditions of prebiotic Earth will be then discussed, with special focus on the development of biological material from which Life originated. The nature and features of the basic molecules of Life, proteins and DNA, will be reviewed, providing hints about their origin and illustrating the energetic and chemical constraints that have possibly driven their evolution into the form we know today. In this context, a few pioneering experiments aiming at understanding the prebiotic synthesis and self-assembly of such complex biomolecular systems will be discussed. Then, the nature of Life, its development and the modern experimental investigations targeting Life evolution will be presented in terms of the basic molecular ingredients playing an important role in the known metabolic processes occurring in living organisms.

Subject area

Biology
Life sciences

Field area

Digital
Industry and Space

Time format

weekly

Educational-info

Prerequisites

at least a Bachelor

Duration

44

Day of the weeks

Thusday morning

ECTS

6

Validation mode

Written Exam and seminars

Maximum number of students

20

Organizer

Partner

Scuola Normale Superiore

Faculty

Scuola Normale Superiore

Department

Classe di Scienze

Contact or registration links