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23.05.2024 | The Limits of Life: Survival in Extreme Environments – prof. Dirk Schulze-Makuch

23 May 2024, 16:30

The Limits of Life: Survival in Extreme Environments

Life on Earth has adapted to multiple environmental stresses including a lack of water and nutrients, temperature and pressure extremes, and high salinities. The talk will focus will on the search for life in three extreme habitats:

1) the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert in Chile,
2) a liquid asphalt lake in Trinidad, and
3) the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica.

The results obtained from this research shows the incredible adaptability of life on Earth and also provides us with critical insights when searching for life on other planets and moons.

prof. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Technical University of Berlin

Dirk Schulze-Makuch is Professor of Planetary Habitability and Astrobiology at the Technical University of Berlin. He studied geology at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and received his PhD in geosciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. He then worked as a Senior Project Hydrogeologist at Envirogen, Inc. before accepting a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. During this time he was also a Faculty Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He then went to Washington State University as a professor and finally to the Technical University of Berlin. In 2011, Dirk Schulze-Makuch received the Friedrich-Wilhelm Bessel Award from the Humboldt Foundation for outstanding achievements in the field of theoretical biology. In addition to his position in Berlin, he is an adjunct professor at Washington State University. His research is in the larger field of planetary habitability and astrobiology, in which he has published 10 books (the most recent "The Cosmic Zoo: Complex Life on Many Worlds") and more than 200 scientific articles.
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