About IPL

A highly interdisciplinary team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the Applied Physics Laboratory combine their expertise to address fundamental questions about the origins, evolution, and prevalence of life in the universe. In addition to providing guidance for research, the team administers graduate and undergraduate lecture courses on these topics.

The institute also hosts the Planets, Life, and the Universe (PLU) Lecture Series, which brings high-profile speakers from prominent universities and organizations to campus to discuss current topics in astrobiology. The presentations are available live and as webcasts online.

Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series

The Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series is supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Department of Biology and the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Johns Hopkins University, and the Ernst Cloos Memorial Fund.

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1 Mar 2019
Lessons from the Deep Earth for the Search of Life in the Solar System and Beyond

Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto) The recent National Academies Report - the 2018 Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life...

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5 Apr 2019
Untangling the Role of Environmental and Ecological Influences on the Proterozoic Rise of Complex Life

Phoebe Cohen (Dept. of Geosciences, Williams College) The origins of complex life lie in the Neoproterozoic Era, which began 1,000 million years ago. How, why, and when complex life,...

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3 May 2019
Tracking Life’s Fingerprints with Molecules and Isotopes

Katherine H. Freeman (Dept. of Geosciences, Penn State University) Biomarkers are organic molecular remnants of past life preserved in ancient soils and sediments. We use both the...


Our Research Areas

Artist concept disk of clouds and dust


Photo from atop the Panamint Range looking down to the east towards Badwater Basin in Death Valley.


Atacama Desert



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