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Astrochemistry: Origins of Life in Space

New experimental techniques, remarkable advancements in quantum chemistry, the development of observational telescopes, and powerful computer algorithms are making the observation of interstellar molecules possible for the first time in human history. Through this cutting-edge science, we are able to better understand the origins of the organic and molecular elements of life first produced by nucleosynthesis at the core of stars, subsequently ejected out into the interstellar medium, physically and chemically processed by the conditions in space over millions of years, and deposited on to the surfaces of primordial planets, ultimately to become the building blocks of life as we know it.

In this course, we will explore how molecular evolution occurs within various extreme astrochemical environments, such as the interstellar medium, molecular clouds, star-forming regions, and planetary bodies; learn about the formation processes of the prebiotic organic molecules in space that serve as the precursors to biomolecules that all of life on Earth contains; examine the possibilities of exotic chemistry occurring in the atmospheres and on the surfaces of planets, satellites, and other solar system cometary and meteoritic bodies that may harbor prebiotic molecules; and learn how scientists today can detect and study fields of organic molecules relevant to biology in space.

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Session Two
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Accepting Applications
Grade(s)
10-11
at the time of application
Age(s)
15-17
on the first day of session
Prerequisite(s)

Completion of high school courses in physics and chemistry.