Training school on Astrobiology

Times & Schedules

Fri 6 to Sat 7 November 2020

A 2-day pre-conference training school for postgraduate students and young researchers on the fundamentals of Astrobiology is planned on November 6th-7th 2020.

We also welcome teachers, who may wish to learn more about this evolving field and who may wish to incorporate the latest advances in Astrobiology into their curricula as a vehicle for emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of science.

Many of the presentations will be by speakers on route to the meeting at the Vredefort Dome. Note that videos of previous training schools are available online ( Similar, though updated material will be presented in South Africa.

Organizers: Muriel Gargaud and Herve Cottin (WG education and training in astrobiology)

Duration and timing: Fri 6 to Sat 7 November 2020

Costs: We aim to host the Training School free of charge, depending on the outcome of funding applications. If unsuccessful, we will have to charge a fee to a maximum of R2000, which will include costs for coffee and lunch breaks. 


Friday November 6th

8h30-9h: Introduction to the TS/What is astrobiology: M.Gargaud/H.Cottin (France)

9h-10h30: Chemistry in Molecular Clouds and in Proto-Planetary Nebulae: Maria Drozdovskaya (Switzerland)

10h30-11h: Coffee break

11h-12h30: Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems/ Our Earth in the Exoplanetary Context: Daniel Apai (US)

12h30-13h30: Lunch

13h30-15h: Impacts and their role in the evolution of life: Philippe Claeys (Belgium)

15h-15h30: Coffee Break

15h30-17h00: Early Earth (interactions between the lithosphere, atmosphere, ocean & microbial world): Nic Beukes/Axel Hofmann (South Africa) 

17h-17h30: Informal Discussion

18h: Exoplanets and the Habitable Zone: What Makes a Planet Habitable? Public Lecture by Michel Mayor (Switzerland)


Saturday November 7th

9h-10h30: When (and How) Does Life Arise? Kamilla Muchowska (France)

10h30-11h: Coffee break

11h-12h30: Early Traces of Life; Co-evolution of Earth and Life during the Archaean: Emmanuelle Javaux (Belgium)

12h30-14h: Lunch

14h-15h30: Extremophiles and Extreme Environments: Donald Cowan (South Africa)

15h30-16h: Coffee Break

16h-17h30: The Search for and Evolution of Life in Our Solar System and Beyond: Kevin Hand (US)

17h30-18h: Informal Discussion

Venues: Johannesburg (at University of the Witwatersrand or University of Johannesburg)

Accommodation: You will need to book for your own accommodation during the course of the workshop.

The Garden Court Hotel in Milpark is located near to the University of Johannesburg.

There are several guesthouses and B&B’s in the suburbs of Melville and Auckland Park, which are within walking distance (15-30 min) from the University of Johannesburg.  Below are a few options but an internet search for accommodation in Melville will give you many more.

The Melville Turret –

Die Agterplaas B&B –

Auckland Park Lodge –

Homebase Melville Backpacker –