Seminars

The Center runs an Astrobiology Seminar (previously called Origins of Life) series. Presenters include faculty, postdoctoral researchers and students associated with the Center, and visiting speakers. Topics covered all aspects of Origins of Life research in the fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences.

All seminars are open to the public and held in CII 3051 at 4:00 pm, unless otherwise noted. Please check back for any updates of seminars for this semester. 


To view the audio and visuals of the seminar that was presented, click on the “seminar” link under the presenter’s name. Some of the introductions (first few minutes of the seminar) may not be good audio quality. However, the quality gets better once the speaker begins.

If you are viewing in Real Player and images are blurred, be sure to check on your ‘view’ option at top of image to be sure you are on ‘original size’ by selecting the ‘zoom’ option and then selecting ‘original size’.

Some seminars may not open in older versions of Netscape.


Jump to semester:



Fall 2014 Schedule

November 3, 2014
“Very Large Differences in D-H Partitioning in Silicate Melts: Implications for the D/H Ratio of Earth’s Ocean”
Dr. George Cody
Carnegie Institute of Washington, Geophysical Laboratory
Dr. Cody’s web page


Spring 2014 Schedule

March 31, 2014
“Lu-Hf isotope perspective on the formation of the continental crust”
Dr. Martin Guitreau
University of New Hampshire
Dr. Guitreau’s web page

May 9, 2014 – NOTE THIS IS A DIFFERENT DAY/ROOM THAN OUR REGULAR SEMINARS -
Room SC 1C13
“A Paradigm Shift Hypothesis:  A Case for RNA’s Influence on Life on Earth”
Dr. Sohan Jhetta
Open University, Milton Keane, UK
Dr. Jhetta’s web page


Fall 2013 Schedule

October 15, 2013 Note this is a Tuesday.  Rensselaer is on a Monday class schedule
“Martian Organics and the Search for Life”
Dr. Andrew Steele
Carnegie Institution Geophysical Laboratory
Dr. Steele’s web page

October 21, 2013
Dr. Eunsoo Kim
“Microbial Eukaryotes: Diversity, Symbiosis, and Evolution”
American Museum of Natural History
Dr. Kim’s web page

November 4, 2013
“Combinatorial Chemistry in the Prebiotic Environment”
Dr. David Deamer
UC Santa Cruz
Dr. Deamer’s web page

November 18, 2013
“Habitability in Extreme Environments”
Dr. Karyn Rogers
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

November 25, 2013 – Student Presentations – 1
Cassondra Brayfield:  Organic Astrochemistry from Interstellar Clouds to Protoplanetary Disks
Adam Mistretta:  Exoplanets and Habitable Zones, where to look for Signs of Life
Deniz Kortan:  Icy Moons as Potential Hosts for Life
Gary Krivo:  Hydrothermal Systems and Extremophiles
Student talks are 15 minutes each plus 5 minutes for questions

December 2 – Student Presentations – 2
Magdalena Prentice:  Photosynthesis as a Biosignature
Deon Robinson:  The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Eric Culp:  Astrobiology and Society – What if we Discover ET?
Steven Leblanc:  Expansionism and Isolationism:  Why Contact requires Colonialism
Student talks are 15 minutes each plus 5 minutes for questions

[Back to Top]

 



Spring 2013 Schedule

January 23, 2013
NOTE DIFFERENT TIME AND LOCATION
“The Mars Rover “Curiosity” Mission”
Dr. Laurie Leshin
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
This is a Wednesday, Biotech Auditorium
Co-sponsored by the Physics Department at Rensselaer
Dr. Leshin’s web page

March 25, 2013
“Chemical Evolution: Investigations of Computational Models of Prebiotic Chemical Systems”
Dr. Pauline Schwartz
University of New Haven
Dr. Schwartz’s web page

April 22, 2013
“Planetesimal Differentiation, Magnetism, and the Origin of Meteorites”
Dr. Ben Weiss
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Weiss’ web page

April 24, 2013
NOTE DIFFERENT TIME AND LOCATION
“Searching for Planets Orbiting Low-mass Stars”
Dr. Cullen Blake
University of Pennsylvania
This is a Wednesday, DCC 337, 4:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Physics Department at Rensselaer
Dr. Blake’s web page

May 13, 2013
“A Whiff of Oxygen in the Anoxic Archean”
Dr. Ariel Anbar
Arizona State University
Dr. Anbar’s web page

[Back to Top]


 


Fall 2012 Schedule

September 17, 2012
“Uncovering the First Earth-sized Extrasolar Planets”
Dr. Kevin Stevenson
University of Chicago
Dr. Stevenson’s web page 

October 15, 2012
“The Role of Water in Planet Formation”
Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan
Space Telescope Institute
Dr. Pontoppidan’s web page

November 19, 2012
“Hot Spots in the Coevolution of Life and Earth”
Dr. Blair Hedges
Penn State
Dr. Hedges’ web page 

[Back to Top]
_________________________________________________________________________


Spring 2012 Schedule

February 13, 2012
“Proterozoic Patchwork: Exploring Microbial Biosignatures in the Microoxic Terrestrial Subsurface”
Dr. Jennifer Macalady
Penn State University
Dr. Macalady’s web page

February 27, 2012
“Gravitational Effects on Biofilm Formation by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Dr. Cynthia Collins
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Collins’ web page

March 5, 2012
“A Convivial Origin of Life on the Earth: A Cooperative Network of RNA Replicators”
Dr. Niles Lehman
Portland State University
Dr. Lehman’s web page

March 19, 2012
“The Nitrogen Cycle and the Evolution of Earth’s Redox State: Lessons from the Proterozoic”
Dr. Christopher K. Junium
Syracuse University
Dr. Junium’s web page

April 2, 2012
“Young Stars Near Earth: a Close Look at Irradiated Protoplanetary Disks”
Dr. Joel Kastner
Rochester Institute of Technology
Dr. Kastner’s web page

April 30, 2012
“An Alternative View for the Origin and Evolution of pre-RNA Polymers”
Dr. Nicholas Hud
Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Hud’s web page

May 7, 2012
“Astrobiology 3.0: New Contexts, New Questions”
Dr. Kathryn Denning
York University
Dr. Denning’s web page

[Back to Top]



Fall 2011 Schedule

October 3, 2011
“Southpaw Solar System? L-Amino Acid Excesses in Meteorites and Implications for the Origin of Life”
Dr. Aaron S. Burton
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Burton’s web page
Dr. Burton’s blog

November 7, 2011
“Exoplanet Climates”
Dr. David Spiegel
Princeton University
Dr. Spiegel’s web page

November 21, 2011
“New Insights about the Prebiotic Chemical Inventory from the Classical Miller Experiment”
Dr. Facundo M. Fernandez
Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Fernandez’s web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2011 Schedule

February 28, 2011
Student presentations
Christopher Beavan (talk): Extremophiles on Earth and in Space
John Isabella (talk): Extremophiles and the Tree of Life
Amanda Palazzolo (poster): Conditions on Early Earth
Lesley Wu (poster): Mehanogens and Mars

March 7, 2011
Student presentations
Katherine DeBlasio (talk): Hadean Earth: the Earliest History of our Planet
Bethany Niedzielski (talk): Life on Europa
Harrison Elba (poster): Icy Moons

March 21, 2011
“Catching Shadows: Kepler’s Year-Two Transit Census”
Dr. Natalie Batalha
San Jose State University
Dr. Batalha’s web page

March 28, 2011 -
“Exploring the Potential of Apatite + Graphite Associations as Biosignatures in Precambrian Sedimentary Rocks”
Dr. Dominic Papineau
Boston College
Dr. Papineau’s web page
Dr. Papineau’s seminar was not videotaped. Please refer to the following pdfs for his and others research:

Click here for “Ancient Graphite in the Eoarchean quartz-pyroxene rocks from Akilia in southern West Greenland I: Petrographic and spectroscopic characterization”

and

Click here for “Ancient Graphite in the Eoarchean quartz-pyroxene rocks from Akilia in southern West Greenland II: Isotopic and chemical compositions and comparison with Paleoproterozic banded iron formations”

April 4, 2011
Student presentations
Aaron Bloom & Andre Watson (talks): Origin of the Earth-Moon System
Nathan DeRouchey (poster): Habitability
Austin Pyzza (poster): The Atmosphere of Titan and its Relevance to Prebiotic Earth

April 11, 2011
“The Best is yet to be: New Chemical Models of Stellar and Planetary Formation”
Dr. Eric Herbst
Ohio State University
Dr. Herbst’s web page

April 18, 2011
Student presentations
Jared Sagendorf (talk): Martian Methane: Evidence for Life?
Eric Hansen (poster): Habitability and Astronomical Biosignatures
Steven Lentine (poster): Zones of Habitability around Normal Stars
Bradley Burcar (poster): Alternatives and Precursors to the RNA World

May 2, 2011
Student presentations
Bradley Burcar (talk): Single-Origin vs. Double-Origin Hypotheses on the Prebiotic Earth
Cale Kochenour & Allison Feldman (posters): The Earliest Fossils
Andrew Ewing (poster): Photosynthesis and its Role in Evolution

May 9, 2011
“Impact Experiments: Applications to Sugars Found in Space”
Dr. Nicolle Zellner
Albion College and
NY Center for Astrobiology 
Dr. Zellner’s web page

[Back to Top]



Fall 2010 Schedule

October 12, 2010 - This is a Tuesday, but Rensselaer is on a Monday Schedule – Room is CII 3051 at 4:00 pm
“RNA Oligomers on the Prebiotic Earth: Possible Environments and Processes”
Dr. John Delano
University at Albany
Dr. Delano’s web page
Seminar

October 18, 2010
“Titan as a Prebiotic Laboratory: Development of Complex Organics in an Abiotic Environment “
Dr. Mark Smith
University of Arizona
Dr. Smith’s web page
Seminar

November 8, 2010
“Oort Cloud Formation – the Role of the Sun’s Birth Cluster”
Dr. Hal Levison
Southwest Research Institute
Dr. Levison’s web page

November 22, 2010
“Oxygen, Geostable Molecules and the Cloud Paradigm”
Dr. Roger Summons
MIT
Dr. Summons’ web page
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Spring 2010 Schedule

February 8, 2010 - SEMINAR CANCELLED – CHECK BACK FOR RESCHEDULE DATE
“Theoretical and Computational Modeling of Dissolution Processes “
Dr. Shikha Nangia
Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Nangia’s web page

February 22, 2010
“Laboratory Spectroscopy of Interstellar and Planetary Ice Analogs “
Dr. Perry Gerakines
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Dr. Gerakines’s web page
Seminar

March 1, 2010
Student Talk/Poster
Vanessa Haskins “The Evolution vs. Creationism Debate” Talk
Diana Marsh “The Terrestrial Plantet Finder and Biomarkers” Talk
Elisa Caporizzo – Panspermia Poster
I-Chen Ho “How Cosmic Electromagnetic Waves Affect Life” Talk

March 22, 2010
Student Talk/Poster
Jeffery Johnston “Life under the Ice of Jupiter’s Moons” Talk
Matthew Celniker “Life on the Moons of the Outer Planets” Talk
Emily Hardegree-Ullman – The Effects of Microgravity on Life Poster
Laura Koppes – Prebiotic Molecules in Comets and Meteorites Poster
Santiago Salazar “Moons of the Outer Planets” Life below the Ice?” Talk
Stephen Spellman – Origins of Galaxies Poster

March 29, 2010 
“MIPSGAL Survey and the Discovery of Debris Disk Candidates”

Dr. Sachin Shenoy
NASA Ames Research Center
Dr. Shenoy’s web page
Seminar

April 12, 2010
Student Talk/Poster
Meghan Hatton – The Early Earth Poster
Trevor Partridge “The Earliest Fossils” Talk
Jonathan Voght “Inorganic Catalysts and the Origins of Life” Talk
Wenting Hou – How did this Colorful World come to us? Poster
David Levine “Molecular Chirality and the Origins of Life” Talk
Michael Lucking – Inorganic Catalysts and Enzymes – Their Role in Early Life Poster
Anthony Pena – The Discovery of DNA Poster

April 19, 2010 - CANCELLED 
“RNA Oligomers on the Prebiotic Earth: Possible Environments and Processes”

Dr. John Delano
University at Albany
Dr. Delano’s web page

May 3, 2010
Student Talk/Poster
Paul Belcourt – Alternative Forms of Life Poster
Matthew Crescimanno “Habitable Zones” Talk
Michael Flynn – Exoplanets and Habitable Zones Poster
James Miglietta – Technologies for Terrestrial Planet Finding Poster
Thomas Olenick “Terraforming” Talk
Christopher Persichilli “That Makes Earth Habitable?” Talk
Joshua Rutberg “Detecting Extra-Solar Planets” Talk

May 10, 2010
Student Talk/Poster
Stephen Nettnin – SETI Poster
Frances Bodrucki “SETI” Talk
Andrew Dobras “Microbial Life elsewhere in the Universe” Talk
Jared Lyon – Life on Mars? Poster
Nicole Ross “Extremophiles” Talk
Christina Wiegers “The SETI Institute’s Project Phoenix” Talk
Anthony Zhu – SETI Poster

[Back to Top]



Fall 2009 Schedule

October 5, 2009
“Asteroids, Amino Acids, and the Origin of Life”
Dr. Wayne Roberge
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Roberge’s web page

October 26, 2009 
“Organics in Disks:Do Young Star Systems Have the Ingredients for Life?”

Dr. Erika Gibb
University of Missouri – St. Louis
Dr. Gibb’s web page
Seminar

November 9, 2009 
“Earth’s Super Cycles Viewed from Ocean Chemistry”

Dr. Troy Rasbury
Stony Brook University
Dr. Rasbury’s web page
Seminar

November 16, 2009 
“Exploring the Utility of Ca Isotopes as a Biosignature”

Dr. Matt Fantle
Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Fantle’s web page
Seminar

November 30, 2009 
“Some Recent Studies in Prebiotic Chemistry”

Dr. James Cleaves
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Dr. Cleaves’ web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2009 Schedule

March 16, 2009
“The Cataclysmic Bombardment of the Earth-Moon System 3.9 Billion Years Ago”
“Could the formation of the Moon’s basins be related to the origin of the Oort Cloud of comets, the orbit of Pluto and the origin of life on Earth?”

Dr. Timothy Swindle
University of Arizona
and member of the NY Center for Astrobiology
Dr. Swindle’s web page
Seminar

March 23, 2009
“Zircon as a Window into the Earliest History of the Earth” 
If interested in seeing Dr. Watson’s talk, please contact him via his web page
Dr. E. Bruce Watson
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
and member of the NY Center for Astrobiology
Dr. Watson’s web page

April 13, 2009
“Hydrogenase, Deeply Buried Microbes, and the Beginning of Life: A Topsy-Turvy Journey at the Border between the Living and Non-Living” 
Dr. Bruno Soffientino
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology,Siena College

April 20, 2009
“Moving beyond Sulfate-Dependent Methane Oxidation in Cold Seeps” 
Dr. Christopher House
Pennsylvania State University
Dr. House’s web page
Seminar

April 27, 2009
“Thermochronology of Solar System Materials” 
Dr. Suzanne Baldwin
Syracuse University
and member of the NY Center for Astrobiology
Dr. Baldwin’s web page

[Back to Top]



The following seminars were presented as part of the New York Center for Studies on the Origins of Life
Spring 2006 Schedule

February 6, 2006
“Serine: Key Molecule in Biochemical Evolution”
Dr. R. Graham Cooks
Purdue University
Seminar

March 20, 2006
“Putting the Squeeze on Biology: Biomolecules under Pressure”
Dr. Sol Gruner
Cornell University
Dr. Gruner’s web page

March 27, 2006
“Pre-protocluster Cores and Infrared Dark Clouds”
Dr. Sean Carey
Spitzer Science Center
Dr. Carey’s web page
Seminar
Audio improves 1.5 minutes into the seminar

April 10, 2006
“Sedimentary and Groundwater History of the Burns Formation, Meridiani Planum, Mars”
Dr. Scott McLennan
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Dr. McLennan’s web page
Seminar
Audio improves after introduction to the seminar
If seminar does not open in older versions of Netscape, it should open with Internet Explorer

April 24, 2006
“Evidence for an Early Acidic Hydrosphere on Mars from Phosphorus Geochemistry of Martian Soils and Rocks”
Dr. James Greenwood
Wesleyan University
Seminar
Audio improves after introduction to the seminar
[Back to Top]



Fall 2005 Schedule

October 17, 2005
“CO2-H2O Phase Equilibria and Martian Volatile History (or How Mars Rolled Over and Died)”
Dr. John Longhi
Doherty Senior Research Scientist
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Dr. Longhi’s web page
Seminar

November 7, 2005
“Impact Cratering and Its Effect on the Origin and Early Evolution of Life”
Dr. David Kring
University of Arizona
NASA/UA Space Imagery Center
UA Meteorite Recovery Program

November 14, 2005
“A New Radiation Transfer Tool for Analyzing Star Forming Regions: Application to Spitzer GLIMPSE Data”
Dr. Barbara A. Whitney
Space Science Institute
Dr. Whitney’s web page
Seminar

November 21, 2005
“Lunar Meteorites and What We’ve Learned about the Moon from Them”
Dr. Randy Korotev
Washington University in St. Louis
Seminar

December 5, 2005
“Cosmology and Life”
Dr. Mario Livio
Space Telescope Science Institute
Dr. Livio’s web page
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Spring 2005 Schedule

January 24, 2005
“Authenticating Origins and Indigeneity of Ancient Organic Molecules”
Dr. Steve Macko
University of Virginia
Dr. Macko’s web page

February 7, 2005
“Geophysical Constraints on Physical Processes at Subglacial Lakes in East Antarctica”
Dr. Ani Tikku
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seminar

February 22 — NOTE THIS IS A TUESDAY
“Exploring Hot Springs Ecosystems at Yellowstone”
Dr. Everett Shock
Arizona State University

February 28, 2005
“The Virtual Planetary Laboratory: Towards Characterizing Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets”
Dr. Vikki Meadows
Caltech

March 7, 2005
“Toward Comprehensive Models of Star-Forming Regions”
Dr. Steven Doty
Denison College
Dr. Doty’s web page
Seminar

March 21, 2005
“Bacterial Structure and Geo-Reactivity…Could ‘Microfossils’ be the Ancient Remnants of Prokaryotic Cells?”
Dr. Terry Beveridge
University of Guelph, Canada
Seminar

March 28, 2005
“Titan’s Elusive World”
Dr. Caitlin Griffith
University of Arizona
Dr. Griffith’s web page

April 4, 2005
“Synthesis and Spectroscopy of Organics in Ices Relevant to Comets and the Interstellar Medium”
Dr. Marla Moore
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Moore’s web page

April 11, 2005
“Early History of the Solar System as Seen by Primitive Meteorites”
Dr. Frank Richter
University of Chicago
Seminar

April 25, 2005
“An Empirical Origin for the Genetic Code: The Escaped Triplet Theory”
Dr. Michael Yarus
University of Colorado
Seminar

May 2, 2005
“Stability of Magnesium Sulfate Minerals in Martian Environments and the Consequences for Life on Mars”
Dr. Giles Marion
Desert Research Institute, Reno
Dr. Marion’s web page
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Fall 2004 Schedule

September 20, 2004
“Near Infrared Observations of Saturn’s Rings with Cassini”
Dr. Philip Nicholson
Cornell University
Seminar

September 27, 2004
“Survival on Mars and Transfer between the Planets”
Dr. Benton Clark
Lockheed Martin
Dr. Clark’s web page

October 4, 2004
“The Moon and the New Presidential Space Vision”
Dr. Paul Spudis
Johns Hopkins
Dr. Spudis’ web page
Seminar

October 12, 2004 – Note this is a Tuesday
“Tracing Life in the Earliest Terrestrial Rock Record”
Dr. Mark van Zuilen
Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France
Seminar

October 18, 2004
“NASA’s Stardust Mission: Bringing Back a Sample of a Comet”
Dr. Martha Hanner
University of Massachusetts
Seminar

October 25, 2004
“Global Measurements of the Earth’s Spectral Albedo: Climate Change and Biological Signatures”
Dr. Pilar Montanes Rodriguez
Big Bear Solar Observatory
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Seminar

November 1, 2004
“Atmospheric Aerosols as Prebiotic Chemical Reactors”
Dr. Veronica Vaida
University of Colorado at Boulder
and Radcliffe Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard
Dr. Vaida’s web page
Seminar

November 8, 2004
“The Mission to Really Early Earth: When did Conditions Appropriate for Life First Appear on Earth?”
Dr. Mark Harrison
The Australian National University

November 22, 2004
“Interstellar Dust and Astrobiology: Recent Research and Future Prospects”
Dr. Doug Whittet
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Whittet’s web page
Seminar

November 29, 2004
“Education and Outreach in Astrobiology”
Joseph Tamer
Emma Willard

December 6, 2004
“Did Amyloid Seed the Origins of Life?”
Dr. David Lynn
Emory University
Dr. Lynn’s web page
Audio improves 1 minute into seminar
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Spring 2004 Schedule

February 9, 2004
“Rings to Bind them: Gravitational Instabilities in Protoplanetary Disks and the Formation of Gas Giant Planets”
Dr. Megan Pickett
Purdue University
Seminar

February 23, 2004
“Martian Gullies: A Record of Recent Liquid Water on Mars”
Dr. Martha Gilmore
Wesleyan University
Dr. Gilmore’s web page
Seminar

March 1, 2004
“Circumstellar Disks and What They Teach Us about Planet Formation”
Dr. Alycia Weinberger
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

March 15, 2004
“Polar Phage, Planetary Protection and the New Field of Astrovirology”
Dr. Raymond Kepner
Marist College
Seminar

March 22, 2004
“Organic Chemistry in Hot Water – Synthesis and Condensation Reactions”
Dr. Bernd R. T. Simoneit
Oregon State University
Seminar

March 29, 2004
“Stress Response or Adaptation: The Impact of Megapascal to Gigapascal Pressure on Microbial Life”
Dr. James Scott
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

Annual Public Lecture
Thursday, April 1, 2004
Dr. John Delano
University at Albany, State University of New York
“NASA’s Search for Life Beyond the Earth”
Dr. Delano’s web page
Evening lecture to be held at The Holiday Inn Turf at 205 Wolf Road, Albany, 7:30 pm seminar, refreshments beginning at 7:00 pm in the Turf Courtyard.
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

April 5, 2004
“The Evolution of Protoplanetary Disks, 0.5-10 Myr: First Spectroscopic Results from the Spitzer Space Telescope”
Dr. Dan Watson
University of Rochester
Seminar

April 19, 2004
“Making Sense of Extrasolar Planets”
Dr. William Cochran
University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Cochran’s web page

April 26, 2004
“Galactic Tidal Streams, the Formation of the Milky Way, and the Connection with WIMP Dark Matter Direct Detection”
Dr. Heidi Newberg
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Newberg’s web page
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Fall 2003 Schedule

September 8, 2003
“Tracing the Microbial Tree of Life: Novel Approaches using Geochemistry and Genomics”
Dr. Christopher House
Pennsylvania State University
Seminar

September 22, 2003 – Cancelled – rescheduled to November 17, 2003
“Complex Organic Compounds from Laboratory Simulations of Interstellar Ices”
Dr. Jason Dworkin
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Dworkin’s web page

September 29, 2003
“Mass Extinctions and their Causes”
Dr. Luann Becker
University of California, Santa Barbara
Seminar

October 6, 2003
“How Resonances Shape Extra Solar Planetary Systems”
Dr. Alice Quillen
University of Rochester
Seminar

October 14, 2003
“Are Comets Really Pristine Interstellar Material?”
Dr. Wayne Roberge
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Roberge’s web page

October 27, 2003
“On the Early Evolution of Nucleid Acid Polymerases: How Well can the Transition from the Prebiotic to Biological Catalysis be Understood?”
Dr. Antonio Lazcano
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Seminar

November 3, 2003
Dr. Cin-Ty Aeolus Lee
“Evolution of Oxygen in the Earth’s Mantle and Atmosphere: the Vanadium Perspective”
Rice University
Dr. Lee’s web page
Audio improves 2:05 into the seminar
Seminar

November 10, 2003
“Detection and Chemical Characterization of an Extrasolar Cometary System”
Dr. Saavik Ford
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

November 17, 2003
“Complex Organic Compounds from Laboratory Simulations of Interstellar Ices”
Dr. Jason Dworkin
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Dworkin’s web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2003 Schedule

February 3, 2003
“Infrared Extinction and the initial Conditions for Star and Planet Formation”
Dr. Charles Lada
Harvard – Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Dr. Lada’s web page
Seminar

February 10, 2003
“Early Life on Earth: Bacterially Catalyzed Inorganic Transformations that Yield Life-Supporting Energy”
Dr. Henry Ehrlich
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seminar

February 24, 2003
“Aqueous Environments at and below the Surface of Titan”
Dr. Jonathan Lunine
University of Arizona
Seminar

March 3, 2003
“HCN Polymer: Spontaneous Complexity for the Origin of Life or Just to Drive Us Crazy?”
Dr. Robert Minard
Pennsylvania State University

March 17, 2003
“Zircons as a Window into Earth’s Early History”
Dr. Bruce Watson
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Watson’s web page
Seminar

March 24, 2003
“Multiple Sulfur Isotope Analyses: Applications for the Study of the Earth’s Early Atmosphere, Early Life, and Early Environments”
Dr. James Farquhar
University of Maryland
Dr. Farquhar’s web page
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

Annual Public Lecture
Thursday, April 3, 2003
Dr. Chris McKay
NASA Ames Research Center
“From Antarctica to Mars: The Search for Life”
Evening lecture
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

April 7, 2003
“Using Phylogenomics to Build a Better Trees and the Geologic Record to Date Major Evolutionary Divergences; Implications for the Archean Biosphere”
Dr. Carrine Blank
Washington University, St. Louis
Seminar

April 21, 2003
“Hydrocarbon Hazes on Early Earth and Titan: Experimental Constraints on Photochemical Formation Rates and Optical Properties”
Dr. Kristie Boering
U.C. Berkeley
Seminar

April 28, 2003
“Stardust in the Laboratory”
Dr. Ernst Zinner
Washington University
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Fall 2002 Schedule

September 9, 2002
“Melting of Chondrules by Solar Nebula Shocks”
Dr. Steve Desch
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

September 16, 2002
Dr. Anurag Sharma
“An Experimental Window on Life at Extreme Pressures”
Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

September 23, 2002
“Dark Clouds Are Really Dark”
Dr. Ted Bergin
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Seminar

September 30, 2002
“Molybdenum Isotopes: In Pursuit of Proterozoic Paleoredox”
Dr. Ariel Anbar
University of Rochester
Seminar

October 7, 2002
“Geochemistry and Impact History at Three Apollo Landing Sites”
Dr. Nicolle Zellner
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Seminar

October 21, 2002
“The Early Earth: The Foothold of Life”
Dr. Frances Westall
Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, CNRS, Orleans, France
Seminar

October 28, 2002
“Evolutionary Transfer of Mitochondrial Genes to the Nucleus: When, What, How, and Why?”
Dr. Jeffrey Palmer
Indiana University
Dr. Palmer’s web page
Seminar

November 4, 2002
“The Origin of Habitats: Star and Planet Formation”
Dr. John Bally
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. Bally’s web page
Seminar

November 11, 2002
“Sugars as the Source of Energy and Carbon for the Origin of Life”
Dr. Art Weber
SETI Institute

November 18, 2002
“Mass-independent Fractionation of Sulfur Isotopes, Sulfur Cycling, and the Rise of Oxygen on the Early Earth”
Dr. Bruce Runnegar
University of California, Los Angeles
Seminar

November 25, 2002
“Constraints on the Bombardment History of the Earth-Moon System”
Dr. John Delano
State University of New York at Albany
Dr. Delano’s web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2002 Schedule

January 21, 2002
“Circular Polarisation in Star-forming Regions: The Origin of Homochirality”
Dr. James Hough
University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield, England
Seminar

February 4, 2002
“The Chemistry and Biology of the RNA World”
Dr. Ronald Breaker
Yale University
Dr. Breaker’s web page
Seminar

February 11, 2002
“Aerosols on Mars: Send in the (Water Ice) Clouds”
Dr. Michael J. Wolff
Space Science Institute
Dr. Wolff’s web page
Seminar

February 19, 2002 –NOTE THIS IS A TUESDAY (Monday class schedule for Rensselaer)
“Liquid Water in the Early Archean: Ion Microprobe Evidence from 3.3 to 4.4 Ga Detrital Zircons”
Dr. William Peck
Colgate University

February 25, 2002
“Preliminary Investigation of Carbon and Sulfur Cycling in Sulfidic Hot Springs”
Dr. Jun Abrajano
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

March 4, 2002
“Can the RNA World be Rebuilt With Aptamer and Ribozymes?”
Dr. Donald Burke
Indiana University
Seminar

March 18, 2002
“Discovery and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets”
Dr. Debra Fischer
University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Fischer’s web page
Seminar

March 25, 2002
“Planet Formation in the Outer Solar System”
Dr. Scott Kenyon
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Dr. Kenyon’s web page
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************
Annual Public Lecture
Thursday, April 4, 2002
Dr. Norman Pace
University of Colorado
“New Perspective on Life’s Diversity: Extreme Environments and Life in the Solar System”
Evening lecture to be held at The Holiday Inn Turf on Wolf Road, Albany, 7:30 pm seminar, refreshments beginning at 7:00 pm in the Turf Courtyard. Call 518-276-2663 for more information.
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

April 15, 2002
“Chemical Evolution: An Update”
Dr. Sandra Pizzarello
Arizona State University
Seminar

April 22, 2002
“Minerals, Emergence, and the Origin of Life”
Dr. Robert Hazen
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

April 29, 2002
“How Did Cellular Life Begin?”
Dr. David Deamer
University of California, Santa Cruz
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Fall 2001 Schedule

September 10, 2001
“A Proposed Renewable Source of Prebiotic Ribose: Photochemical and Metal-Catalyzed Oligomerization of Formaldehyde and Glycolaldehyde”
Dr. John J. Eisch
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
The State University of New York at Binghamton
Seminar

October 1, 2001
“Impact Delivery of Organic Material to Earth, Mars and Europa”
Dr. Elisabetta Pierazzo
Lunar & Planetary Lab
University of Arizona
Dr. Pierazzo’s web page
Seminar

October 9, 2001 – NOTE THIS IS A TUESDAY
“When Extrasolar Planets Transit Their Parent Stars”
Dr. David Charbonneau
California Institute of Technology
Dr.Charbonneau’s web page
Seminar

October 15, 2001
“Biogenic Methane, Hydrogen Escape, and the Rise of Oxygen on Early Earth”
Dr. David Catling
Astrobiology Program/Atmosphere Sciences Department
University of Washington
Dr. Catling’s web page
Seminar

October 22, 2001
“Alive after 250 Million Years: Reanimation and Characteristics of Bacteria from Permian Salt”
Dr. Russell Vreeland
West Chester University
Seminar

October 29, 2001
“Cometary Dust: Clues to the Past”
Dr. Martha Hanner
Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Caltech
Seminar

November 19, 2001
“Interstellar Inception of Meteoritic Organics and Implications for the Origin of Life”
Dr. Max Bernstein
NASA Ames Research Center
Dr. Bernstein’s web page
Seminar

November 26, 2001
“Chemical Clues to Signs of Life in the Universe”
Dr. Marilyn Fogel
Geophysical Laboratory
Carnegie Institute of Washington
Dr. Fogel’s web page
Seminar

December 3, 2001
“Fitness of Alternative Nucleic Acids”
Dr. Chris Switzer
Chemistry Department
UC Riverside
Dr. Switzer’s web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2001 Schedule

January 29, 2001
“The Origins of Everything Else”
Dr. Heidi Newberg
Physics Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Newberg’s web page
Seminar

February 5, 2001 (Cancelled due to weather)RESCHEDLED FOR TUESDAY MARCH 27, CII 4040, 4:15 PM
“Molecular Microbial Ecology: From Organisms to Sequences and Back Again”
Dr. Jackie Collier
Biology Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seminar

February 20, 2001 (NOTE THIS IS A TUESDAY — FOLLOWS A MONDAY CLASS SCHEDULE)
“The Evolution of the Atmosphere and the Biosphere of the Early Earth”
Dr. Hiroshi Ohmoto
Director, NASA-Penn State Astrobiology Research Center
Professor of Geochemistry, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Ohmoto’s web page
Seminar

February 26, 2001
“The Emergence of Life from FeS/Fe(OH)2 Bubbles at Alkaline Hot Seepages in an Acid Ocean”
Dr. Michael Russell
Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre
Dr. Russell’s web page
Seminar

March 5, 2001
“Alive after 250 Million Years: Reanimation and Characteristics of Bacteria from Permian Salt”
Dr. Russell Vreeland - CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
West Chester University

March 19, 2001
“Function and Evolution of Mobile Self-Splicing Introns”
Dr. Marlene Belfort
Wadsworth Center
Seminar

March 26, 2001
“Hydrosphere-crust interactions in the Hadean (>4 Gyr) Earth”
Dr. Stephen J. Mojzsis
University of Colorado
Dr. Mojzsis’ web page

March 27, 2001 — RESCHEDULE OF 2/5/01 SEMINAR — SEE Feb. 5th ABOVE

*********************************************************************************************
Annual Public Lecture
Thursday, March 29, 2001
Dr. Jill Tarter
Bernard M.Oliver Chair, SETI Institute
“SETI 2020: A Roadmap For Future SETI Observing Projects”
Evening lecture held at The Holiday Inn Turf on Wolf Road, Albany, 7:30 pm seminar, refreshments beginning at 7:00 pm in the Turf Courtyard.
Seminar

*********************************************************************************************

April 2, 2001
“The Great Oxidation Event between 2.3 and 2.0 Ga”
Dr. Heinrich D. Holland
Harvard University
Seminar

April 9, 2001
“Spontaneous Generation and Propagation of Chiral Asymmetry”
Dr. Dilip Kondepudi
Wake Forest University
Seminar

April 16, 2001
“Comets: Messengers from the Early Solar System (and their Astrobiological Significance)”
Dr. Michael J. Mumma
Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD

April 23, 2001
“Organic Compounds in Carbonaceous Meteorites”
Dr. George Cooper
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Fall 2000 Schedule

September 11, 2000
“Hairpin ribozyme: Structure and catalysis”
Dr. John M. Burke
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Markey Center for Molecular Genetics
University of Vermont
Seminar

September 18, 2000
“Prebiotic Biopolymer Synthesis”
Dr. Jim Ferris
Director, NY Center for Studies on the Origins of Life and Research Professor of Chemistry
Rensselaer
Dr. Ferris’ web page
Seminar

September 25, 2000
“Disk lifetimes, accretion, and planet formation”
Dr. Lee W. Hartmann
Senior Astrophysicist
Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Dr. Hartmann’s web page
Seminar

October 2, 2000
“Searching for the unknown: methods for the detection of extraterrestrial life”
Dr. Kenneth Nealson
Faculty Associate, Geobiology
California Institute of Technology
Seminar

October 10, 2000–NOTE DAY IS A TUESDAY–CLASSES ARE ON A MONDAY SCHEDULE
“Molecular cloud material preserved in interplanetary dust particles”
Dr. Scott Messenger
Sr. Research Scientist, McDonnell Center for Space Science
Physics Department, Washington University
Seminar

October 16, 2000
“Primitive translation systems: theory and experiment”
Dr. David Usher
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department
Cornell University
Dr. Usher’s web page
Seminar

October 23, 2000
“Environmental Conditions of the Early Earth”
Dr. Paul Knauth
Professor, Geology
Arizona State University
Dr. Knauth’s web page
Seminar

November 6, 2000
“Searching for the Geochemical Roots of Biochemistry”
Dr. George Cody III
Staff Scientist, Geophysical Laboratory
Carnegie Institute of Washington
Seminar

November 13, 2000
“The Galactic Habitable Zone”
Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez
Research Assistant Professor, Astronomy Department
University of Washington
Seminar

November 20, 2000
“Formation of Biomolecules in Interstellar Clouds”
Dr. S. B. Charnley
NASA Ames Research Center

November 27, 2000
“Racemization of Amino Acids on Meteorite Parent Bodies”
Dr. Barbara Cohen
Research Associate, Planetary Geosciences Institute, Department of Geological Sciences
University of Tennessee
Dr. Cohen’s web page
Seminar

December 4, 2000
“Catalytic RNA Meets Selfish DNA: The Group I Intron Endonucleases”
Dr. David Shub
Professor, Biological Sciences
State University of New York at Albany (SUNYA)
Dr. Shub’s web page

[Back to Top]



Spring 2000 Schedule

February 14, 2000
“Signatures of Biogenic Activity within Martian Meteorites”
Dr. Everett Gibson
NASA Johnson Space Center
Seminar

February 28, 2000
“Extrasolar Planets”
Dr. Alan Boss
Carnegie Institution of Washington

March 6, 2000
“The Role of Minerals as Catalysts in Prebiotic Synthesis”
Dr. Martin Schoonen
SUNY Stony Brook
Seminar

March 8, 2000
“Planets around Sun-like Stars”
Dr. Paul Butler
Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Seminar

March 20, 2000
“The Chemistry of Interstellar Clouds”
Dr. Eric Herbst
Ohio State University
Seminar

March 27, 2000——–CANCELLED—————–
“Catalytic RNA Meets Selfish DNA: Are Group I Introns of Bacteria and Bacteriophage Ancient Relics or Recent Invaders?”
Dr. David Shub
Center for Molecular Genetics, SUNYA

April 10, 2000
“Chemistry of the Accretion Disks Around Young Stars & The Nature of Comets”
Dr. Geoffrey Blake
California Institute of Technology
Seminar

April 17, 2000
“Cooking the Primordial Soup: Abiotic Synthesis of Hydrocarbons in Hydrothermal Environments”
Dr. Tom McCollom
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Seminar

April 24, 2000
“Prospects for Life on Europa”
Dr. Chris Chyba
SETI Institute

[Back to Top]



Fall 1999 Schedule

October 4, 1999
“The Reduction of Nitrogen to Ammonia by Ferrous Hydroxide”
Dr. David Mauzerall
Rockefeller University

October 18, 1999
“Continuous Evolution in Vitro: Examining Complexity in the RNA World”
Dr. Niles Lehman
State University of New York at Albany
Seminar

October 25, 1999
“The Search for Glycine in Hot Molecular Cores”
Dr. Lewis Snyder
University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Seminar

November 1, 1999
“Analogs of the Early Solar System”
Dr. David Koerner
University at Pennsylvania
Seminar

November 8, 1999
“Activation of Phosphorus on the Primitive Earth”
Dr. Alan Schwartz
University of Nijmegen, Netherlands
Seminar

November 15, 1999
“Experimental Tests of Genetic Code and Ribozyme Origins”
Dr. Laura Landweber
Princeton University
Seminar

November 22, 1999
“Possible Pathways to Organophosphates on the Early Earth”
Dr. William Hagan
College of St. Rose
Seminar

[Back to Top]



Spring 1999 Schedule

January 25, 1999
“Examination of Subsurface Microorganisms for Group I Self-Splicing Introns”
Dr. Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer
Chairperson, Biology and Director, Darrin Fresh Water Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

February 1, 1999
“The Origin of Microbial Species: A View Based on the Natural History of Hot Spring Microorganisms”
Dr. David Ward
Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Montana State University

February 8, 1999
“Origin of the Biogenic Elements”
Dr. James Napolitano
Physics Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

February 22, 1999
“Geochemical Constraints on the Origin of the Earth and Moon”
Dr. John Jones
NASA Johnson Space Center

March 1, 1999
“Impact History of the Earth-Moon System and Constraints on the Origin of Life”
Dr. Graham Ryder
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Center for Advanced Space Studies

March 15, 1999
“SIM – The Search for Planets”
Dr. Deane Peterson
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy
SUNY Stony Brook

March 22, 1999
“Organic Carbon in Interplanetary Dust”
Dr. George Flynn
Physics Department
SUNY Plattsburgh

March 29, 1999
“Template-Directed Polynucleotide Synthesis on Analogs of DNA and RNA”
Dr. Leslie Orgel
Salk Institute

April 5, 1999 CANCELLED
“Mimicking of Early Evolutionary Events Using Continuous Evolution of RNA in Vitro”
Dr. Niles Lehman
Dept. of Biological Sciences
SUNY Albany

April 12, 1999
“The Comet/ISM Connection”
Dr. William Irvine
Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory
University of Massachusetts

April 20, 1999
“The Discovery of Earth’s Earliest Fossils: Solution to Darwin’s Dilemma”
Dr. J. W. Schopf
Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences
Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life
University of California

[Back to Top]



Fall 1998 Schedule

September 22, 1998
“Planetary Environments for the Origin of Life”
Dr. Sherwood Chang
Exobiology Division Head
NASA Ames Research Center

September 25, 1998
“Chemistry of the Origin of Life”
Dr. James Ferris
Director, NY Center for Studies on the Origins of Life
Chemistry Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

October 2, 1998
“Impact Flux in the Early Solar System”
Dr. John Delano
Dept. of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
The State University of New York at Albany
Seminar

October 9, 1998
“Prebiotic Pathways to Nucleotides”
Dr. Geoff Zubay
Department of Biological Sciences
Columbia University

October 16, 1998
“Methane in Earth’s Early Atmosphere:
Effects on Climate and Early Biological Evolution”
Dr. Jim Kasting
Department of Geoscience
Penn State University

October 23, 1998
“Asteroids and the Origins of Life”
Dr. Michael Gaffey
Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Rensselaer

October 30, 1998
“Photochemistry of the Atmospheres of the Giant Planets. The Roles of H2S, NH3, PH3, GeH4 and H2O”
Dr. Jean-Claude Guillemin
Director of Research
CNRS, University of Rennes
France

November 6, 1998
“Shock Chemistry in Star-Forming Regions”
Dr. Wayne Roberge
Physics Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seminar

November 13, 1998
Organic Molecules: From Interstellar Clouds to Protoplanetary Disks”
Dr. Douglas Whittet
Physics Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Seminar

November 20, 1998
“Interplanetary Dust Particles: Primitive Materials from the Early Solar System and Beyond”
Dr. John Bradley
MVA, Inc. and
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

December 4, 1998
The Nature and Evolution of Interstellar and Circumstellar Ices and Organic Matter”
Dr. Jean Chiar
NASA Ames Research Center

December 18, 1998
The Lick, Keck, and Anglo-Australian Planet Surveys”
Dr. Paul Butler
Anglo-Australian Observatory

[Back to Top]