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Venue of the HIFOL Colloquia:

Königstuhl 17, Heidelberg: Auditorium of Haus der Astronomie

Coming Colloquia

13.06.2018 – Dimitry Semenov

(Department of Chemistry, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich)

Title: Organics in Space

Abstract: TBA

27.06.2018 – Stephen J. Mojzsis

@MPIA, Lecture Hall

(University of Colorado)

Title: After the Moon - The Onset of Giant Planet Migration at ca. 4.49 Gyr ago

Abstract: The inner solar system experienced bombardment from late accretion in the first several hundred million years of the Solar System. The sources and tempo of this bombardment are debated. Radiometric dating of achondrite meteorites record differentiation and formation of crusts by ca. 3 Myr into Solar System history. Superimposed on this early history are later impact-induced U-Pb and Pb-Pb ages that wane by ca. 4.45 Gyr ago. Younger ages are confined to 40-39Ar geochronology, which is relatively susceptible to thermal resetting, and describe an age continuum from ca. 4.48 Gyr ago extending in a long tail to 3.0 Gyr ago with occasional impact events as recently as 250 Myr ago. The decline in late accretion intensity was well underway before Earth, Moon and Mars could have last experienced wholesale crustal melting as defined by the oldest zircon U-Pb ages around 4.4 Gyr ago. Here we track the dynamical profile of late accretion flux by coupling models of giant planet migration with time-integrated ages compiled from different radiogenic systems for meteorites, and lunar, martian and terrestrial rocks. We show that if giant planet migration commenced at ca. 4.49 Gyr ago, it led to an intense ~30 Myr influx of comets to the inner solar system capable of continually renewing planetary crusts until ca. 4.45 Gyr ago. This age comports with planetary Pb (and Nd) isotopic values extrapolated to primordial compositions which yield separation times for terrestrial silicate reservoirs. Concurrent bombardment by leftover planetesimals continued to affect the inner solar system as a smooth (monotonic) decline in impactor flux. We describe the dynamical basis of this late accretion scenario, its thermal consequences to the crusts of the terrestrial planets, and assess the likelihood that a persistent biosphere could be established on Earth (and Mars) since ca.130 Myr after solar system formation.

18.07.2018 – Christian Mayer

(University of Duisburg-Essen)

Title: Vesicle Evolution as a Starting Point for Life?

Abstract: Has life evolved from peptide-vesicle systems? We propose a scenario inside tectonic fault zones in the Earth's crust where vesicles together with peptides undergo a periodic self-optimizing process finally leading to functional vesicles. Formed in a remarkably stable and undisturbed environment, these vesicles can travel to the planetary surface and serve as a perfect structural basis for protocells. The described evolution process is presently reproduced in a controlled experiment.


07.11.2018 – Rene Heller

@MPIA, Lecture Hall

(Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen)

Title: The Perils and Merits of Living Around a Red Dwarf Star

Abstract: The Earth does not contain most of the liquid water in the solar system. Instead, the icy moons around Jupiter and Saturn maintain huge subsurface water reservoirs worth several Earth oceans. With only one hundredth the mass of the Earth or less than a tenth the mass of Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa has long been suspected to be geologically dead with no internal heat source left to prevent it (or her) from becoming entirely frozen. The famous Laplace orbital resonance with Europa's neighboring moons Io and Ganymede, however, has kept its orbit elliptical for billions of years, which is the source of an internal tidal heat source that melts the subsurface ice. Many planets have now been found beyond the solar system, some of the most interesting of which orbit nearby red dwarf stars. Their system architectures resemble that of the Jovian moon system in many regards such as orbital mean motion resonances, the alignment of the orbital planes, the mean densities of the bodies suggesting rocky-water compositions etc. The ultimate questions is: could these extrasolar, Earth-sized planets have clement surfaces with liquid water? I will show how tidal heating and the evolution of the stellar luminosity affect the habitability of planets and moons around red dwarf stars.

December 2018 – Sarah Rugheimer Title: UV, Biosignatures and Life

Abstract: TBA

Past Colloquia

02.05.2018 – David Deamer

(University of California)

Title: Hydrothermal Vents or Hydrothermal Fields: Where can Life begin?

28.02.2018 – Lena Noack

(FU, Berlin)

Title: Volcanic Activity on Rocky Planets – Implications for the Habitability of Exoplanets

07.02.2018 – Daniel Apai

(University of Arizona)

Title: Building Habitable Worlds: Exo-Earth Formation and the Delivery of Volatiles and Organics

29.11.2017 – Mark van Zuilen

(Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)

Title: Tracing Life in the early Rock Record

08.11.2017 – Ralf Kaiser

(University of Hawaii)

Title: "Exploiting Tunable Vacuum Ultraviolet Light to Unravel the Synthesis of Biorelevant Molecules in Deep Space"

26.07.2017 - Sebastian Pallmann

(Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München)

Title: "Scouting Chemical Networks" Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München)

14.06.2017 – Mark Harrison

(University of California, Los Angeles)

Title: "A New View of Early Earth and its Habitability"

03.05.2017 – Frank Postberg

(Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Heidelberg)

Title: "The Search for Life on Icy Ocean Moons in the Solar System"

12.04.2017 – Bernard Marty

(Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France)

Title: "Origin of Water and other Volatile Elements in Inner Planets, in the Light of the Recent Results from the Rosetta Mission"

11.01.2017 – Edwin Bergin

(University of Michigan, Department of Astronomy)

Title: "Tracing the Ingredients of Habitable Worlds from the Interstellar Medium through Planet Formation"

21.12.2016 – Uwe J. Meierhenrich

(Université Nice Sophia Antipolis Institut de Chimie de Nice)

Title: "The Cometary Rosetta Mission: Analytical Chemistry on the Nucleus of Comet 67P"

30.11.2016 – Christian Hallmann

(Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, MARUM, University of Bremen)

Title: "Biomarker-hydrocarbon indicators for the early evolution of life on Earth"

16.11.2016 – Albrecht Ott

(Universität des Saarlandes)

Title: "Spontaneous Autocatalysis in a Prebiotic Broth"

05.10.2016 – Bruce Fegley

(Washington University St. Louis)

Title: "Chemical models of Earth's early atmosphere"

01.06.2016 – Peter Schuster

(University of Vienna)

Title: "From Darwin’s Natural Selection to Reproducing Molecular Networks"

18.05.2016 – Ximena C. Abrevaya

(CONICET, Buenos Aires)

Title: "Astrobiology: interdisciplinary approaches for a multidisciplinary science"

11.05.2016 – Paul Higgs

(Origins Institute, McMaster University, Ontario)

Title: "From Chemistry to Biology: How did the RNA World get started?" (Organized by Th. K. Henning) 

06.04.2016 – Farid Salama

(NASA-Ames Research Center, CA, USA)

Title: "Organic Matter in Space" (Organized by Th. K. Henning) 

09.03.2016 – Lisa Kaltenegger

(Associate Professor of Astronomy @ Cornell University and Director of the Carl Sagan Institute)

Title: "Rocky Exoplanets and the Scientific Concept of Habitable Worlds"

10.02.2016 – Ralph Pudritz

(McMaster University Hamilton, Canada)

Title: "Amino acid and Nucleobase Synthesis in Meteoritic Parent Bodies"

Presentation from speakers

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