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Life in the Universe

by The Ohio State University

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Course Description

Twenty years ago we knew of exactly one planetary system: our own.  Today we know of more than 1000 confirmed planets around other stars, with a few thousand more candidate systems awaiting confirmation.  

Life in the Universe is an introduction to Astrobiology for non-science majors. The topics covered in this course lie at the interfaces between Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, and the Earth and Planetary sciences. We will learn about scientists' ongoing quest for answers to some of the most fundamental human questions: How did life originate on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? Are we alone in the universe? What is the long-term future of life in the universe?  

The course covers three primary topics:
  1. The emergence and nature of life on the Earth
  2. The potential for life on other planets in our Solar System
  3. The search for habitable worlds and life around other stars in our Galaxy.
The course will begin with a brief introduction to modern science and astronomy, and end with a brief discussion of the long-term future of life on Earth and in the Universe in general.

The lectures were recorded live in my Astronomy 141 class during Winter Quarter 2012.  The lecture slides were reformatted for this iTunes U course, primarily to remove copyrighted graphics derived from the textbook which, while covered under Fair Use in the classroom, cannot be used in a public version of the course like this.

I will be updating the course with more online content as time and learning new technologies allow.

Got a short question? Want to see what others have asked and my answers?  Ask using twitter with #askAst141 (starts 2015 Aug 14).

Customer Reviews

Great course-Definitely worth your time!

Fascinating subject --extremely well presented and easy to follow even for a person without a strong background in science. Thanks for making this course available -- I hated to for it to end.

A mix of sciences

This course talks about many subjects other than just astronomy but it is done so an informed discussion can be had on the possibility of "life in the universe." This is my first iTunes U course and was so pleased I looked to see if there were any more course from this professor. I hope the other courses I take will hold up to my high expectations after this course.

Pogge is a great Lecturerer

Dr Pogge covers a large scope of material in an interesting and clear lecture style. This one of my top ten iTunes u courses. Biology, astronomy, chem, physics, geology… name it it is here and well explained. Flaps up!

Life in the Universe
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings