Register for the Life in the Universe conference 22-24 November 2021

The second Life in the Universe conference will take place from 22-24 November 2021 online.
A recording of the proceedings of the first conference is available on YouTube at Life in the Universe Symposium 2020.

The conference is sponsored by the Breakthrough Initiatives, the Palaeontological Scientific Trust, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and the South African Astronomical Observatory. This is a unique opportunity to gain an overview of the wide range of research which is aimed at understanding the origin and evolution of life in the universe.

The conference is multi-disciplinary: it covers the search for technosignatures and biosignatures from the universe using telescopes, the space missions searching for life in the solar system, prebiotic chemistry in the universe and in the laboratory, the earliest life forms on Earth, genetics, mass extinctions, the coevolution of technology and intelligence and the future of humanity and the planet. The conference will follow a chronological narrative, from the formation of complex molecules in the universe through our earliest common ancestors to the appearance of advanced cognition and the possible future evolution of life on Earth. It emphasizes that we all derive from an earliest common ancestor and that we may not be unique in the universe, given the recent discovery of thousands of habitable planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.

Attendance is free. The conference is aimed at scientists and other interested people across the disciplines.

Register here.

The Scientific Organising Committee is Bernie Fanaroff (SARAO) (Co-Chair), Dave DeBoer (UC Berkeley) (Co-Chair), Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Toronto), Andrew Siemion (UC Berkeley), Jill Tarter (SETI Institute), Mike Garrett (Manchester), Pierre Durand (Witwatersrand), Jamie Drew (Breakthrough Initiatives) and Robert Blumenschine (PAST).

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Martin Rees (Cambridge)
  • Lisa Kaltenegger (Cornell)
  • Shino Suzuki (JAXA)
  • Steve Benner (Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution)
  • Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Toronto)
  • Eugene Koonin (National Centre for Biotech Information)
  • William Martin (Dusseldorf)
  • Jaganmoy Jodder (Witwatersrand)
  • Jonah Chioniere (Witwatersrand)
  • Arik Kestenbaum (Cambridge)
  • Jim Green (NASA)
  • Frances Westall (European Space Agency)
  • Tim Goudge (UT Austin)
  • David Grinspoon (Planetary Science Institute)
  • Heather Graham (NASA)
  • Jason Wright (Penn State)
  • Daniel Czech (Berkeley)
  • Dietrich Stout (Emory)
  • Scott Hubbard (Stanford)
  • Harry Attwater (Caltech)
  • SoRi La (Witwatersrand)
  • Pete Worden (Breakthrough Initiatives)