Nordic Network of Astrobiology

Summer course "Molecules in Space"
Onsala Space Observatory, Sweden
25 June - 2 July 2013

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General information

Molecules play a decisive role in a multitude of astronomical environments like the interstellar medium, star-forming regions, stellar environments and atmospheres of planets and their satellites. They enabled the collapse of the primeval clouds in the early universe to form the first stars, influence the formation of stars and planetary systems and are fundamental ingredients in planetary atmospheres and cometary comae.


The summer course "Molecules in space", which is co-organised by the The Stockholm University Astrobiology Centre and the Nordic Network of Astrobiology will be held at Onsala Space Observatory , Sweden from 25 June to 2 July 2013, aims to give participants a thorough high-level introduction into the role of molecules in many astronomical environments such as

  • the early universe

  • dark and diffuse interstellar clouds

  • star-forming regions and protoplanetary disks

  • atmospheres of plants and their satellites

  • cometary comae

  • circumstellar envelopes

  • supernova remnants


Furthermore, participants will be introduced into the chemistry that is prevalent in all these objects, the experimental methods to characterise such processes and the possibility to predict molecular ebundances by chemical models of large reaction networks.


The event will be organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology. Dr. Wolf Geppert (physicist at Stockholm University) and Dr. Carina Persson (astronomer at Chalmers University of Technology) function as co-organisers. Observations at the 20 m telescope at Onsala and exercises will complement the lecture programme. The programme of the summer school comprises:

  • lectures by internationally leading scientists covering a broad range of subjects in astrochemistry

  • observations of a small, cold molecular cloud using the 20 m telescope at Onsala Space Observatory to determine its mass and whether it is going to collapse forming a star

  • state-of-the art model calculations of the chemistry of dark clouds and ice surfaces

  • usage of observations to determine physical parameters in astronomical object

  • a poster sessions for the participating students and early career scientists

The course is aimed for Ph. D. students and early career scientists (up to 5 years after their first Ph. D.) in fields relevant to astrochemistry and astrobiology. It is open to applicants from all nationalities. Detailed information about the summer school and the application procedure (deadline 2 April 2013) can be found here.


Successful applicants accepted by the organisers will receive free lodging, meals and excursions, but will have to organise financial means for their travel to and from Onsala themselves. Course credit awards (3 ECTS points) for Ph. D. students will be applied for by the course organisers.


Contact: Wolf D. Geppert, Fysikum, Stockholm University, Roslagstullsbacken 21, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden, phone: +46 8 5537 8649, email: wgeppert@fysik.su.se