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N° 40–2001: Life in the Universe ? Is anybody out there?

6 July 2001

The possibility that there is life elsewhere in the Universe has always excited the general public. Scientists are equally enthusiastic: physicists, biologists, chemists, cosmologists and astronomers all over Europe are researching the age-old question: is there other 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 (CERN), the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory, in cooperation with the European Association for Astronomy Education, have organised a competition to find out what young people in Europe think. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility are also involved.

This "Life in the Universe" project is being mounted in collaboration with the research directorate of the European Commission for the European Week of Science and Technology in November this year. Competitions are already under way in 23 European countries to find the best

projects from school students aged between 14 and 19. Entries can be in one of two categories: scientific or artistic. The projects can therefore be essays, newspapers, websites, artworks, poetry or even a theatrical or musical performance. Two winning teams (one in each category) from each country will be invited to a final event at CERN in Geneva on 8-11 November to present their projects to an international panel of experts at a special event devoting three days to enquiring into 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 website 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 :


Mrs Veselka Radeva

Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium

PO Box 120


Email :


Ms Anne Værnholt Olesen

Tycho Brahe Planetarium

Gammel Kongevej 10

DK-1610 København V

Email :


Kertu Saks

Tallinn Technology and Science Centre Energy

Põhja Blvd 29,

Tallinn 10415

Email :


Mr Lauri Kervonen

National Board of Education


Hakaniemenkatu 2

00531 Helsinki

Email :


Mr Bernard Pellequer

Geospace Observatoire d'Aniane,

Institut de Botanique,

163 rue Auguste Broussonnet,

34090 Montpellier

Email :


Ms Elisabeth Lahr-Nilles

Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

Auf dem Hügel 69

53121 Bonn

Email : Ou


Mrs Maragarita Metaxa

63, Ethnikis Antistaseos

152 31 Athens

Email :


Mr Kevin Nolan

School of Applied Science,

Institute of Technology, Tallaght

Dublin 24

Email :


Mrs Cristina Palici di Suni

Via Giulia di Barolo 3


Email :


Mr Fernand Wagner

Laboratoire de Physique

Lycée de Garçons d'Esch,

Boite postale 195,

L-4002 Esch/Alzette.

Email :


Mr Gert Schooten

Holtmate 14

8014 HA


Email :


Ms Barbara Popielawska

Space Research Center, P.A.N.

ul. Bartycka 18a

PL 00-716 Warszawa

Email :


Mrs Felisbela Martins

ASTRO - Apartado 52503 Amial

4202-301 Porto

Email :


Magda Stavinschi


str. Cutitul de Argint 5,


Email :

Slovak Republic

Mr Dalibor Krupa

Slovak Academy of Sciences

Stefanikova 49

SK-814 38 Bratislava

Email :


Mrs Rosa Maria Ros

Dept. Applied Mathematics IV,

Technical University of Catalonia,

Jordi Girona 1-3, modul C3


Email :


Mr Björn Lingons

Mediecenter Stockholm,

Box 19612,

S-10432 Stockholm

Email :


Mr Michael Reichen

Gymnase de Nyon

Route de Divonne 8

Case postale

1260 Nyon 2

Email :

United Kingdom

Mr Alan Pickwick

19 Edale Grove, Sale, Cheshire,

M33 4RG

Email :

For further information, please contact :

Helen Wilson

European Space Agency

ESTEC Education Office

Postbus 299

2200 AG Noordwijk


+31 71 565 5518 (tel)

+31 71 565 5590 (fax)

Email :

For further information:

Helen Wilson
Tel: +31.71.565.55.18
Fax: +31.71.565.55.90

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