Saturday, April 21, 2012
Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
Robeson Planetarium, NC
Phone: 910-735-2147 (work)
Tucker Valley Elementary Middle
Phone: 304-704-9465 (cell)
NASA Educator Resource Center,
Phone: 304-367-8436 (work)
Jackson Middle School Observatory, MN
Phone: 763-506-3940 (work)
Museum of Flight, WA
Phone: 360-893-2246 ext 445
Montana State University,
Who is Eligible to Participate:
The workshop will focus on formal educators, but informal educators are also welcome to attend. Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary endeavor, so whether you teach integrated science or something more specialized (chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, earth science, etc.), this workshop is for you! The content and activities presented will align mostly with middle school standards, but teachers working at all grade levels are welcome and are invited to consider how to gear the material up or down.
To Register: click on the link above for the site for which you’d like to register, and the local point of contact will follow up with you.
Overview: The NASA Astrobiology Institute, in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Montana State University, and the NASA/JPL Solar System Educators Program, is pleased to host a workshop for educators on astrobiology and the origin of life. This workshop will present the latest research in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology, focusing on how life began on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system.
The main workshop will be held on the Georgia Tech campus with seven satellite locations. Each workshop will include demonstrations of hands-on activities, educational resources, and best practices for facilitating astrobiology content.
Our theme is the topic of a new film from Montana State University entitled, “Exploring the Origin of Life.” At 11 am ET, the main workshop at Georgia Tech will connect to the satellite sites and facilitate a panel discussion via video with three astrobiologists actively studying the origin of life (who also happen to be the “stars” of the film!). Each participant will receive a DVD of the film after the workshop.
three astrobiologists will give a panel discussion during the workshop:
- Dr. Loren Williams from the Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Loren Williams holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry
from Duke University. After postdoctoral fellowships at
Duke, Harvard, and MIT, he joined the School of
Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech in 1992. Dr.
Williams is currently the Director of a NASA
Astrobiology Institute-funded center focusing on the
transition from nucleic acid-based life to protein-based
life, and the role of the ribosome in particular. The
research of the Center focuses on chemically rewinding
the "tape of life" to a time prior to the last universal
common ancestor (LUCA) of all living organisms.
- Dr. John Peters from Montana State University
Dr. John Peters holds a PhD from Virginia Tech. He is
currently Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at
Montana State University, and Director of the
NASA-funded Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center
there. The Center is focused on examining the
biochemical properties and evolution of iron-sulfur
enzymes. In the context of Origin of Life research,
these iron-sulfur assemblies are being examined in an
evolutionary context to gain insights into the
transition between the nonliving and the living
- Dr. Mike Russell from the Jet Propulsion Lab
Dr. Michael Russell has been a Research Scientist at
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2006 where he
studies the origin of life on Earth. Via research
excursions in the Western Pacific, British Columbia, the
Yukon, and Ireland, he developed his theory that life
emerged in submarine springs on the early Earth. His
research has been lauded as the most plausible and
probable of theories in the acclaimed 2009 book “Life
Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution.” In
June 2009 he was awarded the William Smith Medal from
the Geological Society of London for his lifetime
contribution to applied geology.