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The conference is sponsored by the Breakthrough Initiatives, the Palaeontological Scientific Trust,
the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and the South African Astronomical Observatory.
This is a unique opportunity to gain an overview of the wide range of research which is aimed at
understanding the origin and evolution of life in the universe.
The conference is multi-disciplinary: it covers the search for technosignatures and biosignatures from
the universe using telescopes, the space missions searching for life in the solar system, prebiotic
chemistry in the universe and in the laboratory, the earliest life forms on Earth, genetics, mass
extinctions, the coevolution of technology and intelligence and the future of humanity and the planet.
The conference will follow a chronological narrative, from the formation of complex molecules in the
universe through our earliest common ancestors to the appearance of advanced cognition and the
possible future evolution of life on Earth. It emphasizes that we all derive from an earliest common
ancestor and that we may not be unique in the universe, given the recent discovery of thousands of
habitable planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
Attendance is free. The conference is aimed at scientists and other interested people across the

The Scientific Organising Committee is Bernie Fanaroff (SARAO) (Co-Chair), Dave DeBoer (UC Berkeley)
(Co-Chair), Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Toronto), Andrew Siemion (UC Berkeley), Jill Tarter (SETI Institute),
Mike Garrett (Manchester), Pierre Durand (Witwatersrand), Jamie Drew (Breakthrough Initiatives)
and Robert Blumenschine (PAST).
Confirmed speakers include
Martin Rees (Cambridge)
Lisa Kaltenegger (Cornell)
Shino Suzuki (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth
Steve Benner (Foundation for Applied
Molecular Evolution)
Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Toronto)
Eugene Koonin (National Centre for Biotech
William Martin (Dusseldorf)
Jaganmoy Jodder (Witwatersrand)
Jonah Chioniere (Witwatersrand)
Arik Kestenbaum (Cambridge)

Jim Green (NASA)
Frances Westall (European Space Agency)
Tim Goudge (UT Austin)
David Grinspoon (Planetary Science Institute)
Heather Graham (NASA)
Jason Wright (Penn State)
Daniel Czech (Berkeley)
Dietrich Stout (Emory)
Scott Hubbard (Stanford)
Harry Attwater (Caltech)
SoRi La (Witwatersrand)
Pete Worden (Breakthrough Initiatives)

Registration for the conference will open soon at www.sarao.ac.za. After you register, you will be sent a link for each day of the conference.
In order to cover all the time zones, the conference is scheduled for the morning in the USA and the late afternoon and early evening in Europe and Africa.


Nov 22 - 24 2021


All Day

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