Workshop: Life on Earth and in the Universe Current State and Future Visions

The Annual Meeting of the Swedish Astrobiology Network (SWAN), 16-17 October 2017, at Umeå University, in Umeå, Sweden

Background: The secrets of the universe and of life has fascinated mankind since its early history. During the last century we have experienced amazing discoveries in science and technology. These have enabled fascinating journeys to the smallest components of matter and life, to the different global ecosystems of Earth, and to the outer universe. With the ongoing discoveries of novel, extremophilic organisms, viruses, and astonishing remains of ancient life from early Earth, we are constantly expanding our insights about the origin, evolution and the limits and wider potential of life. However, many fundamental and puzzling questions remain to be solved. Some of the main future challenges are understanding the principles of life and consciousness and their evolutionary interactions with our biogeosphere, and how to develop a sustainable technology. This workshop aims to discuss current trends and visions around these topics.

Astrobiology is a young, fascinating research field, which in contrast to the current trend towards more specialization, strives to bring together different fields like physics, chemistry, biology, geology, technology, and even humanistic sciences (e.g. research on consciousness). Astrobiology therefore encourages both a broader education as well as novel, interdisciplinary interactions and research. We welcome everybody to present and discuss these issues.

Organizing organisation:

The board of the Swedish Astrobiology Network (SWAN)

Local organisers at Umeå university:

Natuschka Lee, researcher, department of Ecology and Environmental Science
Asta Pellinen Wannberg, professor, department of Space Physics at Umeå University and at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) in Kiruna
Marianne Eik, science educator, Umeå University public science center (Umevatoriet, the observatory of Umeå)

Deadline for registration:

15th September 2017 (abstract in word, maximum 250 words).

Registration and contact for further information:

Natuschka Lee. If you wish to contribute with a presentation (poster or lecture), please email an abstract of maximally 250 words in a Word file.
Deadline: 15th September 2017.
Costs: Only for coffee breaks and lunch/dinner (request: registration).

Last minute registration still possible to a limited extent. Please contact

Date, location and program:

16-17 October 2017, in Umeå, Sweden. Depending on activity, at two different locations:

  • Scientific program and undergraduate/graduate course (16-17th October 2017): Chemical biological centre at Umeå University, Linneaus väg 6, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
  • Popular scientific program for the public (children and adults, 17th October 2017 – after 5 pm): Umeå University public science center - Umevatory, Umestans Företagspark, 903 47 Umeå, Sweden

Course opportunity for PhD students and other interested, 1,5 credit points - conditions:

Participation at an 2 h introductory lecture (based on “Understanding life in the universe, by C. Cockell, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, and the recent Roadmaps from the European Science Foundation and NASA), at a 1 h seminar, and an active presentation (lecture or poster in English) at the scientific program, or at the public event (in Swedish). For more information and registration (deadline 15th of August 2017): Natuschka Lee

Key scientific topics:

  • Space activities and astrobiology in the Nordic countries
  • Astronomy and space physics
  • Prebiotic chemistry and evolution of life
  • Life detection techniques on Earth and in space
  • Extremophilic organisms on Earth and in space and their role for the biogeosphere
  • Theoretical, evolutionary ecology from an astrobiological perspective
  • Sustainable technology on Earth and on future Space missions
  • Other topics.

Program and information


Page Editor: Natuschka Lee

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