Cosmic Chemistry and Molecular Astrophysics
Organizers: Mats Larsson, Wolf Geppert, Zita Banhidi, Mathias Hamber, Kay Justtanont-Liseau, Bengt Larsson, René Liseau, Hans Olofsson, Sofia Ramstedt, Richard Thomas
June 10-15, Södertuna Castle, Gnesta, Sweden
Cosmic chemistry and molecular astrophysics have as central question to what extent molecules and chemical reactions have affected the development of the universe, from the early universe where the first stars were formed to the giant molecular clouds where more than one hundred molecules have been observed. During recent years the question how this multi facetted chemistry is related to the origin of life has of course come into focus. Many questions remain unanswered, but one thing is clear: the conditions prevailing in our solar system when the earth arose are in no way unique, and there are reasons to believe that there must be many planets that are similar to the earth.
The participants came from three continents representing thirteen countries, and they had their research background in astronomy and astrophysics, physics, chemistry, and biophysics. Thirty-two internationally leading scientists gave lectures in thirteen sessions, which covered a very broad range of subjects starting from chemistry in the early universe to planetary atmospheres, where the new data from the Cassini-Huygens mission provided very interesting new data on Saturn's satellite Titan. In addition, four of the twenty-two invited observers (mostly younger scientists) gave shorter "hot topic" presentations. Three of these presentation were given by researchers from Nordic Countries (one of them being one of the pioneers in Swedish molecular astrophysics), which underlines the importance of contribution from Nordic scientists to this subject. To also inform the general public about the event, three of the invited speakers gave popular science presentation to journalists from the Swedish TV, Södermanlands News and the Radio Sörmland. The symposium's multidisciplinary character gave rise to lively discussions after each lecture, and during the coffee breaks and meals.
The participants were lucky to experience a week with beautiful weather, and Sweden can hardly be better than such a week in June at a lake in Södermanland.
For more information about the symposium, see http://www.nobel133.physto.se.