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Ice & Water in the Universe: from Astrobiology to Terrestrial Bodies
15-26 September 2008 Nordita

Extended workshop (15 Sept - 26 Sept) and conference (15-17 Sept)

Participation in program and conference is done with the same registration form (see on the left). The streaming videos from the conference are mostly linked directly from this page, but those from the program are normally all listed on the Nordita Agenda Page. The distribution of ice throughout the universe and here on Earth has central implications in astrophysics and geophysics from the agglomeration of primordial matter in stellar nebulae to the fate and state of our climate system. All forms of life on Earth presently enjoy a comfortable climate, which is a fortunate consequence of the present extent of the global ice cover. Indeed, large swaths of our planet are seasonally or perennially covered with snow and ice, and although more than two-thirds of the surface of Earth is covered by water, it is the ice to water conversion, and vice versa, that insures that an important fraction of the globe habitable today. Finally, the only form of life known to exist is life on Earth. This life relies on the availability of liquid water. However, life may have evolved under quite different physical and chemical conditions. Knowledge of the limits of terrestrial life has increased substantially in the last few decades, which motivates us to examine possible life processes under the relatively dry and cold conditions such as found on Mars and other planetary bodies. The persistence of unfrozen water at surfaces, known as interfacial premelting, is central to the search for life and possibly its transport throughout the solar system sequestered in the polycrystalline host matrix.

This program will focus on a range of issues of relevance to astrobiology and habitability, including, but not limited to (a) important chemical processes involving ice and water in astronomical and terrestrial settings (b) how habitable matter agglomerated in the first place and what chemical dynamics allowed life to flourish (c) terrestrial limitations and laboratories, from what controls the volume fraction of water in growing sea ice to the chemical, biological and biolocomotive controls on the network and nutrient supply. (d) The transport of fluid in restricted geometries and environments, essential both on the level of the redistribution of the contents in eukaryotic cells to that in a partially molten network. (e) the basic ice physics underlying the persistence of water in partially frozen media and its dynamical and transport properties.

Most of the talks will be concentrated in the conference, whenever possible. For the remaining time we shall schedule a few discussion sessions and informal seminars.

How to get here? (this link has a description and a map). The meeting takes place in the Nordita building, just next to the AlbaNova main building.

The meeting is sponsored by Nordita.

Organizers: John S. Wettlaufer, Axel Brandenburg

Schedule: Week 1


Monday, 15 September


chair: John Wettlaufer (video)

10:00-10:50 Amy Barr: Icy moons in the Outer Solar System

11:00-11:30 coffee

11:30-12:20 Jerome Neufeld: What controls the amount of liquid in ice grown from Oceans?

12:30-14:00 lunch

chair: Axel Brandenburg

14:00-14:50 David Thomas: The abundance of life in ice grown from Oceans I

15:00-15:30 coffee

15:30-16:20 David Thomas: The abundance of life in ice grown from Oceans II

16:30-17:20 Hendrik Hansen-Goos: Solvation of proteins— linking thermodynamics to geometry (pdf).

17:30 Reception

Tuesday, 16 September


chair: Neufeld

10:00-10:50 Wolf Geppert: Dissociative recombination and the formation of biomolecule precursors in the interstellar medium and planetary atmospheres.

11:00-11:30 coffee

11:30-12:20 Gunnar Nyman: Adventures in interstellar nitrogen chemistry

12:30-14:00 lunch

chair: Geppert

14:00-14:50 Felipe Leon: Biofilms & microbial protection Relevance for astrobiology

15:00-15:30 coffee

15:30-16:20 Daniel Heißelmann: The physics of low-velocity collisions and applications to planet formation and Saturn’s rings

16:30-17:20 Axel Brandenburg: Emergence of Homochirality

17:30-18:30 Reception

19:00 Conference Dinner (AlbaNova)

Wednesday, 17 September


chair: Nyman

10:00-10:50 Alan Rempel: Water in soil—the forces and patterns of phase change

11:00-11:30 coffee

11:30-12:20 Diedrich Möhlmann: Water and ice on Mars I

12:30-14:00 lunch

chair: Rempel

14:00-14:50 Harald Reichert: Radiation-enhanced interfacial melting of ice at deeply buried interfaces

15:00-15:30 coffee

15:30-16:20 Jean-Pierre deVera: Steps from Orbit Science to Moon, Mars, Europa and beyond

16:30-17:20 Diedrich Möhlmann: Water and ice on Mars II

Thursday, 18 September


Coffee: 10:15

Talk 1: 10:30-11:20 Amy Barr: Tidally flexed satellites: Enceladus, Europa and Triton

Coffee: 14:15

Talk 2: 14:30-15:20 Mars/Water/Ice Discussion: Möhlmann, deVera, Rempel

Friday, 19 September


Coffee: 10:15

Talk 1: 10:30-11:20 J. Greaves: Planet Formation in Action (FA31)

Coffee: 15:45

Talk 2: 16:00-17:00 J. Greaves: New Astrobiology Initiatives in Scotland

Monday, 22 September



Tuesday, 23 September


Coffee: 10:15

Talk 1: 10:30-11:20 Jan Pettersson: Molecules on Ice- Experiments and Computer Simulations

Coffee: 14:15

Talk 2: 14:30-15:20 John Wettlaufer: A primer on ice crystal shape

Wednesday, 24 September


Coffee: 10:15

Talk 1: 10:30-11:20 Ido Braslavsky: Spruce budworms, microfluidics & antifreeze protein mutants—natural controls in ice growth in organisms

Coffee: 14:15

Talk 2: 14:30-15:20 Yoshi Furukawa: Reversible adsorption of antifreeze glycoproteins and ice growth.

Thursday, 25 September


Coffee: 15:00 Lobby: Oskar Klein Auditorium AlbaNova Colloq: 15:15-16:15 John Wettlaufer: The Quantum Electrodynamics of Snowflakes, Ice skating, Exobiology and other such matters

Friday, 26 September


Coffee: 10:15

Talk 1: 10:30-11:20 Hans Ågren: Enhanced fluorescence in green fluorescent proteins

Coffee: 14:15

Talk 2: 14:30-15:20 Lars Pettersson: X-ray spectroscopy and DFT studies of bulk water structure: two structural motifs

Dates: from 15 September 2008 09:00 to 26 September 2008 18:00
Location: Nordita
Roslagstullsbacken 23
University Center
10691 Stockholm
Chairs: WETTLAUFER, John
Additional info: Further details will be published as soon as available. If you are interested in participating in any part of the programme, please register via the programme web page.

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