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Life in the Universe

Geneva, 2 July 2001. The Universe is indescribably huge. Can it be possible that humanity is the only form of intelligent life that exists in all this immensity? Are we really alone ?

Is there anybody out there?

Geneva, 2 July 2001. The Universe is indescribably huge. Can it be possible that humanity is the only form of intelligent life that exists in all this immensity? Are we really alone ?

Throughout history there have been reported sightings of creatures from elsewhere. Science fiction novels and films with flying saucers and bizarre looking aliens are part of our general culture. Perhaps the Earth is really only an experiment designed by mice and soon we will all be destroyed to make way for a new interstellar highway!

The possibility that there is life in the Universe has always excited the general public and scientists are equally enthusiastic. Physicists, biologists, chemists, cosmologists, and astronomers are researching all over Europe to try to answer the age-old question: is there life in the Universe?

What is our understanding at the beginning of the 21st century? Is there any scientific evidence for other forms of life? How can you define life? What signs are we looking for? What would the reaction be if other forms of life were discovered?

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN1), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in cooperation with European Association for Astronomy Education ( EAAE), have organised a competition to find out what young people in Europe think. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) are also involved.

This programme "Life in the Universe" is being mounted in collaboration with the research directorate of the European Commission for the European Week of Science and Technology in November 2001. Competitions are already underway in 23 European countries to find the best projects from school students between 14 and 18. The projects can be scientific or they can be a piece of art, a theatrical performance, poetry or even a musical performance. The only restriction is that the final work must be based on scientific evidence. Two winning teams from each country will be invited to a final event at CERN in Geneva on 8-11 November 2001 to present their projects to a panel of International Experts at a special three day event devoted to understanding the possibility of other life forms existing in our Universe. This final event will be broadcast all over the world via the Internet.

The home base of the "Life in the Universe" project is a vibrant web space where details of the programme can be found. It is still under development but already has a wealth of information and links to the national websites, where all entries are posted.

Is there other life in the Universe? We do not know - but the search is on!

To find out what is happening for "Life in the Universe" in each country contact the National Steering Committees:
Mr Christian Gottfried
Theobaldgasse 16/13
A-1060 Wien
Email : christian.gottfried@cern.ch
Mr Gert Schooten
Holtmate 14
8014 HA
Zwolle Netherlands
Email : gertschooten@wish.net
Mrs Veselka Radeva
Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium
PO Box 120 Varna
Email : radevi@mail.varna.techno-link.com
Ms Barbara Popielawska
Space Research Center, P.A.N.
ul. Bartycka 18a
PL 00-716 Warszawa
Email : bpop@cbk.waw.pl
Ms Anne Værnholt Olesen
Tycho Brahe Planetarium
Gammel Kongevej 10
DK-1610 København V
Email : Anne_O@tycho.dk
Mrs Felisbela Martins
ASTRO - Apartado 52503 Amial
4202-301 Porto
Email : Felisbela.Martins@ip.pt
Kertu Saks
Tallinn Technology and Science Centre Energy
Põhja Blvd 29,
Tallinn 10415
Email : kertu.saks@energia.ee
Magda Stavinschi
str. Cutitul de Argint 5,
Email : magda@roastro.astro.ro
Mr Lauri Kervonen
National Board of Education
Hakaniemenkatu 2
00531 Helsinki
Email : Lauri.kurvonen@oph.fi
Slovak Republic
Mr Dalibor Krupa
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Stefanikova 49
SK-814 38 Bratislava
Email : fyzikrup@savba.sk
Mr Bernard Pellequer
Geospace Observatoire d'Aniane,
Institut de Botanique, 163 rue Auguste Broussonnet,
34090 Montpellier
Email : bernard.pelleque r@geospace-online.com
Mrs Rosa Maria Ros
Dept. Applied Mathematics IV,
Technical University of Catalonia,
Jordi Girona 1-3, modul C3
Email : ros@mat.upc.es
Ms Elisabeth Lahr-Nilles
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Auf dem Hügel 69
53121 Bonn
Email : e.lahr-nilles@gmx.de Ou elahr@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de
Mr Björn Lingons
Mediecenter Stockholm,
Box 19612,
S-10432 Stockholm
Email : bjlin@avc.edu.stockholm.se
Mrs Maragarita Metaxa
63, Ethnikis Antistaseos
152 31 Athens
Email : mmetaxa@compulink.gr
Mr Michael Reichen
Gymnase de Nyon
Route de Divonne 8
Case postale
1260 Nyon 2
Email : michael.reichen@freesurf.ch
Kevin Nolan School of Applied Science
Institute of Technology
Dublin 24
E-mail: knolan@seti.it-tallaght.ie
United Kingdom
Mr Alan Pickwick
19 Edale Grove, Sale, Cheshire,
M33 4RG
United Kingdom
Email : Alan_C_Pickwick@compuserve.com
Mrs Cristina Palici di Suni
Via Giulia di Barolo 3
Email : palici@aerre.it
Helen Wilson
European Space Agency
Postbus 299
2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
+31 71 565 5518 (tel)
+31 71 565 5590 (fax)
Email : Helen.Wilson@esa.int
Mr Fernand Wagner
Laboratoire de Physique,
Lycée de Garçons d'Esch,
Boite postale 195,
L-4002 Esch/Alzette.
Email : fernand.wagner@ci.educ.lu
Monica De Pasquale
CH-1211 Geneva 23
+41 22 767 7794
+41 22 785 0247
Email : monica.de.pasquale@cern.ch

Life in the Universe : Experts

Ricardo Amils,
Centro de Biología Molecular (CBM), Madrid, ES
Pascale Ehrenfreund,
Leiden Observatory, NL
Juan Perez Mercader,
Centro de Astrobiología, Torrejón de Ardoz, ES
John Ellis,
CERN, Geneva CH
Willy Benz,
Universitaet Bern, CH
Maurice Jacob,
CERN, Geneva, CH
Tilman Spohn,
Institut für Planetologie, Münster, DE
Michel Mayor,
Geneva Observatory, CH
Roger Bonnet,
ex- European Space Agency,Paris, FR
Monica Grady,
Natural History Museum, London, UK
Athéna Coustenis,
Observatoire de Meudon, FR
John Zarnecki,
Milton Keynes, UK
Hubert Reeves,
Centre Nationale De La Recherche Scientifique, Paris, FR
Ian Morison,
Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield, UK
Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd,
CNRS, Paris, FR
Peter Schuster,
Vienna, AT
1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.