Life on Earth and Beyond
The History and Philosophy of the Origin of Life
Ven Island, Sweden, 4 - 6 May 2015


General information

The aim of the course "History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: The Origin of Life" is to give participants a thorough overview of the historical, philosophical and ethical questions arising in this field. It is co-organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology and the EU COST Action "Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe" and will take place from May 4th to 6th 2015 (thoughout all days), with May 3rd as an arrival and May 7th as departure day. The course will consist of:

  • Lectures on the following subjects:
    • Definition of life in a historical and philosphical context
    • Biochemical evolution
    • The tree of evolution
    • Search for life outside Earth
    • Philosophical, ethical and political questions arising with the quest for life on other celestial bodies
  • Open discussions on the following themes:
    • What does origin mean in the expression origin of life ?
    • Which scenarios for the origin of life is most likely and can science give the final answers about the origin of Life?
    • What would be the consequences for power and politics of a possible detection of life outside Earth?
  • Poster session
  • Visit of Tycho Brahe museum and the Uraniborg ruins

A preliminary programme of the summer course can be downloaded as a .pdf file here.

Poster sessions

The poster sessions will be held on Monday, May 4th 2015. They are aiming to allow participants to present their work, so even posters a bit remote from the course subjects are welcome. The poster boards are 1.80 m high and 75 cm wide. So DIN A0 in portrait format will be allright even if the edges of posters will be protruding a bit from the poster boards.


On Tuesday May 5th afternoon, there will be an excursion around the island of Ven. We will visit the Tycho Brahe museum,the Uraniborg ruins and other sights off the island and learn about its history and geology. This excursion is included in thee course package.

Participants taking part in the "Second International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: The Origin of Life" in Höör (8th -10th May 2015) will have the possibility to take part in a full day's excursion to the limestone formation Stevns Klint (where the Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary is clearly visible) on 7th May. The fee for the excursion is SEK 750,- (to be paid in cash upon arrival) and includes:

  • Bus shuttle from the conference venue to Ven harbour
  • Ferry from Ven harbour to Landskrona
  • Bus tour from Landskrona to Rødvig and Stevns Klint and drop-off at either Copenhagen Airport (CPH, around 18:00) or at Åkersberg stiftsgård (venue of the The Origin of Life conference around 19:00).
  • Lunch at the traditional Danish restaurant Rødvig Kro (probably buffet)
  • 1 microbrewery beer or home made apple juice in addition to table water at lunch
  • Visit of Rødvig cliff and Stevns klint cliff and the famous Højerup church
  • Entrance and guided tour at Stevns Klint museum
  • Coffee break with cakes
Välkommen till Ven !

Backafallsbyn hotel Tycho Brahe's castle Uraniborg Kyrkbacken harbour