Conferences and Meetings: March 2010

Scholarship application deadlines plus new information for Canadian students and a worldwide opportunity provided by the Harvard Origin of Life Initiative

Topic: Extrasolar Planets and Habitability
Location: Palacio de Magdalena, Santander, Spain
Dates: June 21-25, 2010

The ninth annual Summer School in Astrobiology, Extrasolar Planets and Habitability, organized jointly by the Spanish Centro de Astrobiologa and the NASA Astrobiology Institute will be held at the Santander campus of Spain's national university, Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo (UIMP).

The 2010 School lecturers are Dr. Jack Lissauer, NASA Ames Research Center, co-investigator on the Kepler space telescope mission; Professor Eduardo Martin, CAB and University of Central Florida, co-discoverer of the first brown dwarf; Professor Victoria Meadows, University of Washington, head of NAI's Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL); and Professor Michel Mayor, University of Geneva, co-discoverer of the first hot Jupiter, 51 Peg b.

The deadline for NAI applications is March 31. Scholarships covering travel costs, school fees, accommodations, and meals are provided by NAI for students of any nationality studying at U.S. institutions. See for application details. CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research funds scholarships for 3-4 Canadian students. One or two additional scholarships sponsored by the Harvard Origin of Life Initiative are available on a worldwide basis. Applications for CIFAR, and Harvard scholarships should be made via NAI by April 14. See for application details.

European students may apply for scholarship support provided by UIMP and the European Space Agency (ESA) through the UIMP website ( ) at a later date.

The Summer School includes a week of lectures, round-table discussions, astronomical observations, and a half-day field trip to a site of astrobiological interest. Students completing the school receive a UIMP Diploma in Astrobiology. Accommodations and meals are provided on-site at the Palacio de la Magdalena ( ).'

The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) hosted a "Workshop Without Walls" using advanced collaborative technologies on March 11-12, 2010. The workshop, on "The Organic Continuum from the Interstellar Medium to the Early Earth," was organized by George Cody and Doug Whittet, PIs of the NAI's Carnegie Institution of Washington and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute teams, respectively.

The experience was truly global, with over 170 registrants from 21 US States and 16 other countries, including Canada, Mexico, six western European nations, Ukraine, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. A total of 33 scientific talks were presented over two days, with fully interactive Q&A among the participants at eight sites equipped with HD-video/audio, and streaming with real-time question submission through the Adobe Connect web interface.

The NAI has organized a session entitled "Integrating Astrobiology Research Across and Beyond the Community" at the upcoming 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference in League City, Texas. The purpose of this session is to stimulate new research collaborations across the astrobiology community and beyond by presenting broad nascent or ongoing collaborations as well as new collaborative opportunities. The session will be held on the last day of AbSciCon, Thursday, April 29, from 2:00 to 4:45pm. This session continues a process of integrating astrobiology research that lies at the heart of the NAI. A new phase of this process began in early 2009 when 10 new teams joined the Institute. The NAI Strategic Science Initiative Workshop - held May 13-15, 2009 in Tempe, AZ (see ) was a major milestone focused on developing new and expanded collaborations among NAI teams.

TO: NAI Newsletter distribution list
FROM: George Cody (NAI CIW team) and Douglas Whittet (NAI RPI team)
SUBJECT: Announcement and invitation to attend NAI "Workshop Without Walls": The Organic Continuum from the ISM to the Early SolarSystem

DATES: March 11-12, 2010

Workshop Website:

A two-day workshop using NAI remote communications tools will be held on March 11 and 12, 2010 to present topics spanning the cosmic evolution of organic complexity, from small molecule formation in interstellar clouds to organic synthesis and inventories in protoplanetary disks, the solar nebula, and primitive bodies such as comets and asteroids in our solar system.

Workshop topic areas include

* Interstellar Dust and the Organic Inventory of Protostellar Envelopes
* Organic Astrochemistry of Protoplanetary Disks
* Laboratory Studies of analog ISM and outer Solar System Materials
* Organics and Volatiles in Comets
* Organic matter in Interplanetary Dust particles.
* The Organic Inventory in Asteroids and Primitive Meteorites

This workshop is also a test of how to best use the advanced virtual communications capabilities of NAI to initiate greater cross-team awareness and dialog on a focused research area well represented across the NAI. What we learn from this will inform the greater NAI community.

The workshop is open to all and will be accessible via internet browser- no special software or equipment is required. To receive connection details, please register on the NAI website: