41st Saas-Fee Course
From Planets to Life
3-9 April 2011

41st "Saas-Fee Advanced Course" of the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy (SSAA)


From Planets to Life

3-9 April 2011, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland


The course covers the most important and critical events essential for the emergence and development of intelligent life on Earth. Are these events inevitable or are they fortuitous and unlikely to reproduce elsewhere under similar conditions. The underlying and fascinating question is the ubiquity of life in our Universe: are we alone? Have complex life forms developed on extrasolar planets? Three lecturers present the subject from different view points: (1) astrophysics, (2) Earth geology and climatology and (3) biology.

Three lecture series are in English by world-wide renowned experts in their fields.

Course 1:
Astrophysical conditions for development of life
Prof. Jonathan Lunine (University of Arizona)

Course 2:
Earth geology and climatology history
Prof. James Kasting (Pennsylvania State University)

Course 3:
Origin and critical steps of life development on Earth
Prof. John Baross (University of Washington)

Video recordings and slides of the lectures

Organizing committee : Pierre Dubath, Stéphane Udry, Stéphane Paltani, Amaury Triaud, Myriam Burgener and Chantal Tacoy

Scientific advisers : Michel Mayor and André Maeder

Publication: The lecture book will be published by Springer-Verlag in its Saas-Fee series.

Contact: e-mail

Sponsors: Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy (SSAA)
  Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT)