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Origins 2011 – Abstracts

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P9: Posters – Outreach, Education, History of Sciences
Time: Monday, 04/Jul/2011: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Hall Antigone


Development of Astronomy in Nepal

Bishal Babu Dumre

Saint Xavier's College, Maitighar, Kathmandu, Nepal

This abstract deals with the development of astronomy in Nepal.


Teaching Astrobiology to Science Majors

Monika Kress

San Jose State University, United States of America

To recruit future astrobiologists, more universities must offer astrobiology as an advanced elective that counts toward B.S. degrees in the sciences and engineering. This discipline must also have a core curriculum built with input from the community. To achieve these goals, I have developed freely-available materials to support instructors in teaching upper-division astrobiology. I also propose a core curriculum built on introductory physics and chemistry courses taken by all science majors.


Science in Remote, Confined Space: The Development of Laboratories on Exploration Vessels During the 19th C.

Antony Adler

University of Washington, United States of America

The history of oceanographic exploration informs the means by which social harmony was maintained and scientific work successfully undertaken in past remote, inhospitable, confined spaces. I examine development of the ship as a scientific space on expeditions during the late nineteenth century. Today, the history of this development may help identify the future challenges faced by scientists in the remote, confined, and inhospitable environment of space.


Assessing the risks of protocells: Why precaution may not be the best principle

Kristen Intemann, Samuel Foulkes, Prasanta Bandyopadhyay, Trevor Beard, Sara Waller

Montana State University, United States of America

Protocells hold great scientific promise but also raise possible risks to health or the environment. One principle endorsed for assessing risks is the precautionary principle, which holds that 1) precautionary measures ought to be taken to prevent the possibility of harm and 2) the burden of proof falls on researchers to show that research is safe before it can proceed. We show that focus on the precautionary principle for assessing risks is problematic, regardless of how it is interpreted.


The concept of the origin of life and evolution from an artistic viewpoint: the portrait of evolution in Velasco's series

Ninel Valderrama1, Alicia Negron2

1Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico; 2Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico

The study aims to analyze the transfer of scientific ideas on the origin of life and evolution into the realm of artistic creation. In the late 19th century, both communities retained close ties, Mexican artists like José Ma. Velasco and Carlos Herrera helped with their work to the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The ten canvasses of naturalist-artist Velasco at the National Geological Institute, built by Alfonso Herrera’s brother, Carlos, visually grasp the concept of evolution of life.


The Status of Astrobiology as an Emerging Science

Prasanta Bandyopadhyay, Trevor Beard, Brittan Gordon, Shawn McGlynn

Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center, United States of America

In this poster, we will contend that the celebrated criteria of theory choice are not applicable to astrobiology when the latter is involved with the origin of life theories.


The Astrobiology Primer : an outreach process

Katherine E Wright1, Shawn D Domagal-Goldman2

1University of Colorado at Boulder, United States of America; 2NASA Headquarters

We are jointly leading an international group of early-career astrobiologists to produce the second edition of the Astrobiology Primer, a comprehensive yet concise overview of astrobiology aimed primarily at early-career scientists, but which we intend will also be widely useful for education and outreach. In addition to producing a useful tool, we are using the writing itself as an outreach process, to broaden and strengthen networks within the international early-career astrobiology community.


Time Trek: a 13.7km Long Nature Trail Leading Through the History of Earth and Universe

Kirsi Lehto1, Harry Lehto2, Ari Brozinski3, Kirsi Rajala4, Matti Räsänen5, Ilari Sääksjärvi6, Laura Vainio7, Timo Vuorisalo6, Olav Eklund3

1Lab of Molecular Plant Biology, Dept of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku; 2Tuorla Observatory, Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku; 3Dept of Geology and Minerology, Åbo Akademi; 4Dept of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, University of Turku; 5Dept of Geology, University of Turku; 6Dept of Biology, University of Turku; 7Dept of Geography, University of Turku

To visualize the flow of time, we have setup a 13.7km long trail corresponding to the age of the universe, and to portray the astronomical, physical, geological, biological and human time lines side by side. The trail begins with Big Bang at the Tuorla Observatory and ends at the Turku University. Important time points representing major evolutionary events along the trail are marked with granite boulders, and with brass plates (total of about 80) summarizing important events in each location.


Using the Arts to Help Explain Origins

Meisa Salaita

NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution, United States of America

Following in the footsteps of Galileo who began a tradition of using the arts to communicate science, the education and outreach division of the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution has developed methods of disseminating research to broad audiences by using the arts. We have pioneered an outreach program that seeks to engage new audiences, teaching them about our discoveries. The presentation will share the development of this program and assessment data gauging the impact of that programming.


Philosophical aspects of astrobiology

Erik Persson

The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund University, Sweden

Astrobiology raises a number of philosophical questions that deserve to be scrutinised. For example: 1. What is life? A classical philosophical question at the centre of astrobiology. 2. Proving a negative. It only takes one finding to know that we have found life, but what does it take to decide that a planet is lifeless? 3. Justification? Is it justified to use taxpayer money on the search for extraterrestrial life? 4. Ethics? How do we treat the aliens if we meet them?


Pragmatic ideas in the Origin of Life

Sandra Ramos

Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, UNAM, Mexico

The present study aims to incorporate some concerns of the philosophy of science within the research of the origin of life. The central idea suggests that science generates knowledge from perspectivistic view, which means that knowledge doesn’t come from a description of an absolute reality independent of the cognitive person. On the contrary, the pragmatic philosophy argues that judgments about reality are sustained by the position of the subject held in the world and the participation in it.


A New Memeber in Astrobiology : Instituto de Astrobiología de Colombia (IAC)

Jorge Bueno

Instituto de Astrobiología de Colombia, Colombia

In november 2010, the NAI has accepted an Affiliate Partnership proposal from the Instituto de Astrobiologia in Bogota, Colombia. The NAI and the Instituto de Astrobiologia envision working together initially in three areas: (1) programs to engage and train students and young researchers in Astrobiology; (2) the development of Spanish-language astrobiology materials for use in the United States and in Latin America; and (3) microbiology and related research on organisms from extreme environments.


Astrobiology in Colombia: A science that Promises

Andres Moreno

Instituto de Astrobiologia, Colombia

The First Astrobiology Institute of Colombia present its results obtained . In research, it has already started the first investigation on extreme environments and extremophiles. In Education,the Institute has convinced the main colleges, education centers and universities to include astrobiology programs in their curricula. In outreach, the Institute has organized different activities such as the First International Congresses of Astrobiology and several Astrobiology courses and programs on astrobiology.


Astrobiological resources in Spanish

Patricia Núñez1,2, Roberto Vázquez3, Mauricio Reyes-Ruiz3, Carlos E. Chávez3, Yevi Ocegueda2, Sheyla Rodríguez2, Pedro F. Guillén3, Sol Gil3, Stephania Hernández2,3, Antigona Segura4, F. Javier Martín-Torres5, Lorenzo Olguín6, Carlos G. Román-Zúñiga3

1Instituto de Estudios Avanzados de Baja California, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico; 2Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico; 3Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico; 4Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Universitaria, D. F., Mexico; 5Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC), Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain; 6Depto. de Investigación en Física, Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Son., Mexico

ASTROBIOLOGIA EN ESPAÑOL is a website which includes articles and news reports for non-science people, as well as educational material for all-level teachers. The material is appropriately translated to Spanish. For opening, our website contains the following sections: News, Thesaurus, Ask an Astrobiologist, Blog, Educational Material, Cartoons, and Picture Gallery. This website is hosted in www.astrobioespanol.org and is receiving suggestions to improve it. Supported by CONACYT grant 128563.


Astrobiology in Mexico: The Mexican Society of Astrobiology (SOMA)

Roberto Vázquez1, Sandra I. Ramírez2, Antígona Segura3, Irma Lozada-Chávez4, Patricia G. Núñez5,6

1Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico; 2Centro de Investigaciones Químicas, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico; 3Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D. F., Mexico; 4Interdisciplinary Center for Bioinformatics and Department of Computer Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; 5Instituto de Estudios Avanzados de Baja California, A. C., Ensenada, B. C., Mexico; 6Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico

The Mexican Astrobiology Society, SOMA (Sociedad Mexicana de Astrobiología) is a non-profit, self-sustained organization that joins a multidisciplinary group of scientists, professionals and students interested in promoting the knowledge and progress of Astrobiology. We are particularly interested in motivating young students to initiate a scientific career in Astrobiology topics, and to promote national and international links with organisms dedicated to Astrobiology and compatible fields.


SFE: The French Society of Exobiology

François Raulin1, Didier Despois2, Robert Pascal3, André Brack4, Hervé Cottin1, Yves Ellinger5, Muriel Gargaud2, Eric Hébrard2, Louis d'Hendecourt6, Marie-Christine Maurel7, Franck Selsis2, Frances Westall4

1LISA/CNRS/UPEC/UPD, Université Paris-Est Créteil, France; 2OASU/LAB Observatoire de Bordeaux, France; 3IBMM Montpellier, France; 4CBM/CNRS Orléans, France; 5LCT/CNRS/UPMC Paris, France; 6IAS/CNRS/UPS Orsay, France; 7ANBioPhy/CNRS/UPMC Paris, France

The SFE, Société Française d’Exobiologie, was created in 2009. Its main goals are to stimulate, federate and promote scientific research and related outreach activities in exobiology in France. It is a window to French exobiology activities, in particular through its web site (http://www.exobiologie.fr/). It is recognized by the French Ministry of Education and Research as a “Learned Society”, and currently includes 150 members. The first national conference was held in September 2010.


New Definition of Life

Sohan Jheeta

The Open University, United Kingdom

Life is a thermodynamically open chemical system with a semi-permeable boundary and is ordered, requires continued input of external energy and nutrients. It contains an information based complex system, part of which drives metabolism based on an electrochemical proton gradient. The information is heritable and coded in such a way as to allow variation and adaptation to the environment.


The Pioneer Concepts of Planets Habitability

Florence Raulin Cerceau

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France

The concept of planets habitability has been studied by pioneers as early as the XIXth century. In the middle of the XXth century, the notion of “planetary ecology” presented strong analogies with habitability. A decade later, the concept of habitability has been reformulated as “the planetary conditions suitable for human life”. Today, the concept of habitability is closer to the first proposals than to this last definition. A historical overview of habitability concept will be presented.


Pathways to Space – a new unique multi-million dollar astrobiology and space robotics education and research project

Malcolm Walter1, Carol Oliver1, Salah Sukkarieh2, Matthew Connell3, Michael O'Brien4

1University of New South Wales, Australia; 2University of Sydney; 3Powerhouse Museum; 4Cisco Systems Australia

Australia is exploring what might be a new frontier in astrobiology and space robotics in a multi-million dollar education and research project led by a consortium of four – the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (UNSW), the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (University of Sydney), the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and Cisco Systems Australia. The project is believed to be unique in its approach to astrobiology and robotics research and education in a public space (the Powerhouse Museum).