EPSS 3 - Astrobiology

Please note that the lectures for this course are given online during the COVID-19 pandemic (Fall 2020, Fall 2021). We provide plenty of opportunities for interaction via Zoom. It works well.

This is an exciting course in which we learn about the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth and in the Universe. The material covers aspects of planetary and Earth science, paleontology and biology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics.

In the process we learn about the scientific method and develop critical thinking skills, guided by in-class demonstrations and discussion sections. We focus on conceptual understanding and do not rely on advanced mathematics.

Lectures (three hours/week) are supplemented with active learning exercises, in-class demonstrations, and weekly discussion sections (one hour/week).

The grading format is as follows: Homework and discussion sections will count for 40% of the final grade. One midterm exam and one final exam will count for 30% each. There will be an extra credit activity worth up to 10% of the final grade.

Here is the draft syllabus and moodle site for this course.

The textbook is Caitling's "Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction", Oxford University Press, 2014.