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Exoplanets and Astrobiology - PhD Course
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5873-22-11-31There are 12 available seats 
Enrollment deadline: 03/01/2022
PlaceNiels Bohr Institute
Date and time07.02.2022, at: 00:00 - 10.04.2022, at: 16:00
Regular seats15
ECTS credits7.50
Contact personJulie Meier Hansen    E-mail address: juliemh@nbi.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserUffe Gråe Jørgensen    E-mail address: uffegj@nbi.ku.dk
Written languageEnglish
Teaching languageEnglish
Semester/BlockBlock 3
Scheme groupA (Tues 8-12 + Thurs 8-17)
Exam requirementsSee "Learning outcome"
Exam formOral examination, 30 min. Without time for preparation
Exam formNo external censorship. Several internal examiners.
Exam detailsTo pass the exam it is required that you have participated in one of the large group presentations during the course.
Exam aidsWithout aids
Grading scalePassed / Not passed
Exam re-examinationSame as ordinary exam. If the student has not done a group presentation during the course, a new presentation should be given in front of the teacher no later than 2 weeks before the re-exam.
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours


Formel requirements
Important information for students outside of Denmark:

This course is primarily for students at the University of Copenhagen and other universities in Denmark. If you wish to apply for participation in this course, but you are outside of DK, please send an email to the course responsible or the contact person to find out if you may be allowed to participate. Do NOT use the online application, as it will be voided. Thank you.

Learning outcome


When the course is finished it is expected that the student is able to do the following:
• Explain how the simplest material arose and developed into the complex matter of modern day universe.
• Put our own solar system in context of planetary systems in the Galaxy in general.
• Explain the difference between dead and living material, and explain what is meant by intelligence and by alien life.
• Explain how we - at least in principle - can identify and communicate with extraterrestrial life forms.


Understanding of how the simplest elements were formed during Big Bang and how stars have processed them into larger atoms, molecules and solid material during the lifetime of the universe. Understanding how we today can measure the conditions and processes that formed our solar system 4.6 Gyr ago and how we can compare that with the formation of other planetary systems. Understand the existing search methods for finding planets around other stars, and being able to compare the results of these methods to the knowledge we have about our own solar system. Understand the basic conditions that played a role for the rise of life on Earth, and some theories for how the development to advanced life forms can have taken place.

Being able to argue for and against whether similar processes can have taken place on other planets. Understand how we can search for traces of life elsewhere in the universe and what our limitations in searching for it are.

This course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, e.g. an MSc project.

Target group
This course is offered to MSc and PhD students. For the full course description and MSc student sign-up, please go to this link.

The purpose of the course is to present an understanding of how the complexity of matter has evolved from its simplest forms during Big Bang to the rise of intelligent life that is capable of understanding its own place in this fabulous development.

Formation of the elements during Big Bang, supernovae and red giants. Dust formation, stellar winds, and the re-circulation of cosmic material. Formation of the solar system. Planets around other stars. The physical-chemical basis for life. The arise and development of life on the Earth. Conditions for finding life beyond Earth. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

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