NS2012: Astrobiology and Astrophysics


Cosmology from the Big Bang to the Origin of Life

Credits: 15

Length: 5 weeks

Module Synopsis: 

Astrobiology and Astrophysics examines one of the greatest questions mankind has ever asked: are we alone? It is only recently that humanity has started to gain the tools that will allow a rigorous scientific analysis of the issues involved in the search for life in the Universe.

No one person you encounter can be considered an expert in the whole field; only in recent years have specialist astrobiologists emerged, and they certainly don’t all agree on all the answers. With your experience across the sciences and in interdisciplinary thinking you will be well placed to tackle the questions presented by this module.


Learning Objectives:

  • The Drake Equation
  • The Origin of the Universe
  • Star Formation
  • Main Sequence Stars
  • Evolution and Death of Stars
  • Supernovae
  • Galactic Habitability
  • Radioisotopes
  • Gas Giant Formation
  • Gas Disks to Gas Giants
  • Terrestrial Planet Formation
  • Terrestrial Geology
  • Carbon-Silicate Cycle
  • Habitable Zones
  • Kepler's Laws
  • Planetary Detection Methods
  • Transit Detections
  • Spectroscopy
  • The Damaging Effect of the Sun
  • Fermi's Paradox
  • Organic Molecules
  • Origins of Life
  • Diversification of Bacteria and Archaea
  • Extremophiles and Panspermia
  • Origins of Single-Cells and Multi-Celled Organisms


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