last updated 8/11/14


Professor Karen Kwitter
Office: 110 TPL; Office Hours: Mondays 10-11 AM, and by appointment
Extension: 2272

Text & Other Resources


Life in the Universe (LIU), 3/e, (2012), by Bennett & Shostak available at Water Street Books. I will distribute handouts, URLs and point to other reading as necessary.

Other Resources

The Living Cosmos, by Chris Impey, available as an e-book from Schow (LC).
Eric Chaisson’s Cosmic Evolution website, which is comprehensive (CE).
Life Beyond Earth by Coustenis and Encrenaz, available as an e-book from Schow (a very good, readable general reference).

An Introduction to Astrobiology, (AIA) edited by Rothery et al., on reserve in Schow

The Links & Applets page has been assembled for this class. You will find this a very valuable resource!

Course Requirements and Grading

Each student will present five papers in tutorial session, and will respond to five papers. Submitted papers should be double-spaced, single-sided, numbered, and have reasonably standard margins. They should be carefully proofread for spelling, grammar and punctuation, which will be factored into the grade. Citations should be in the format of the Chicago Manual of Style. I will offer feedback on the writing as well as on the content of each paper, and will especially look for improvement in the former. Presenters may also include PowerPoint slides to illustrate their papers.

The final grade will be determined approximately as follows:

  • Quality of written papers: 30%
  • Quality of presentations: 30%
  • Quality of responses to partner’s papers and presentations: 30%
  • Growth in understanding and improvement in writing during the course: 10%


Tutorial meetings will be arranged according to student pairing and availability. I reserve the right to make changes in pairings during the semester.
In addition we will schedule a 1-hour weekly slot (meeting most weeks) for the entire class together at a time that works for everyone, as early in the week as possible. These meetings will include background material for the week’s assignment, plus relevant videos.

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