Event by Novo Nordisk Foundation Science Cluster

    Lecture: Biology Beyond Earth

    This month, we have the honor of presenting a collaboration project between Chemistry, Astrophysics and Biology, with the aim of setting new frontiers in understanding the limits for the existence of life. The project has received the Novo Nordisk Foundation synergy grant and in this lecture, two of the grantholders will talk about how they initiated the project and give their view on some of the central questions: Are there life on planets orbiting other stars? How much? And which kind?

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    08 October 2020


    Uffe Gråe Jørgensen Professor in Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
    Anders Priemé Professor in Microbial Biology at Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen


    Join us online now:


    Uffe Gråe Jørgensen, Professor in Astrophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute
    There are around 10 billion Earth-like planets in our own Milky Way Galaxy (and 100 billion other galaxies in the visible universe). These are planets of the same size and with the same temperature as the Earth. Is it really possibly that life evolved on only one of them? And if so, then why? And if not, then what are all the other ones doing? Within the next 5 years, new instruments and simulations that we will participate in developing, will make it possible to say if some of the many newly discovered exoplanets are inhabited by living organisms. Soon, humanity will start colonizing Mars and other planets, and later nearby exoplanets. Seemingly nobody else in the whole Galaxy ever did that. Is that really because we are the “galactic super-civilisation”, are we completely alone, or is the problem rather that we just do not understand what life is and where our own place in its evolution is?

    Anders Priemé, Professor in Microbial Ecology at University of Copenhagen
    Can we establish microbial life on Mars using manipulated bacteria from Earth, and thereby facilitate the coming human colonization of the planet? Can we use this knowledge to identify biological activity in the spectrum of the light from far away exoplanets? In experiments in our laboratory, we will follow how bacteria collected at extreme locations on Earth, such as Antarctica and the highest Andes, react to changing environment. Exhaust gas from the metabolism of bacteria has over geological timescales completely changed the Earth’s atmosphere from its original composition, and even cloud formation is affected by free-floating bacteria. By measuring the optical properties of the exhaust gas of different types of bacteria, we will be able to model how their metabolism will affect the atmosphere of planets around other stars. Thereby, we will be able to quantify how different kinds and levels of biological activity will affect the atmospheric spectrum that we can observe of exoplanets orbiting stars lightyears away.

    The Copenhagen Bioscience Lectures is a series of lectures open for researchers and everyone interested in our subjects. Every four weeks, on Thursday evenings, you are invited for lectures on cross-disciplinary research, scientific tendencies, and other themes relating to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers and bioscience in general. The theme for the lecture on 8th of October is “Biology Beyond Earth: Adapting and Identifying Life in Extraterrestrial Environments”.

    All of our lectures are free of charge for participants.

    Our lectures are accessible through online streaming.Sign up to receive a link to participate online. At the day of the event, you will receive an open link through which you can access the online event. Upon entry, you might be asked to download an app or software.

    To attend the lecture physically, please register online.We ask that you only sign up for physical attendance if you are confident that you will show up, as we are running with limited capacity. If you sign up and find yourself unable to make it, please cancel in advance to give your seat to someone else.

    Deadline for registration: Wednesday 7 October 2020


    3:45 pm Welcome and registration (coffee/tea, water available)
    4:00 pm Start of the lecture
    5:30 pm Networking with drinks and snacks (end of virtual event)
    6:30 pm Thank you for today!
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    I am a registered online participant – when will I receive a link?

    If you have received a confirmation mail, you will receive a link to participate online in your mailbox the day before the event.

    I would like to know more about upcoming Copenhagen Bioscience Lectures – where can I find information?

    You are very welcome to join the ‘Copenhagen Bioscience Cluster’ LinkedIn and/or Facebook group. There you will find information about upcoming lectures, and much more. Also, you may want to sign up for the weekly announcement with events and deadlines, sent out by the group manager.

    What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

    If you are by car, you can park for free in front or at the side of Tuborg Havnevej 19. If that is full, there is 3 hours free parking in the parking to the Waterfront shopping mall at the end of the road.

    Public transport by train to Hellerup station, and/or bus (1A, 21, 166), nearest by bus stop is Tuborg Boulevard.

    Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

    Contact Johan Jansen at jja@novo.dk

    How do I cancel my participation?

    Please help us respecting our speakers, as well as keeping track of the numbers and optimize lecture and catering to the audience by cancelling as soon as you know that you exceptionally will not be able to make it. You can either cancel through Conference Manager or send an email to Johan Jansen (jja@novo.dk).

    Can I update my registration information?

    Yes, just log in to Conference Manager. Please use this option also in the unlikely event that you need to cancel your registration.

    Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

    No, you do not have to bring your ticket, but registration is mandatory for participation