[Go to Life in the Universe Website]

The Universe is indescribably huge. Can it be possible that
Humanity is the only form of intelligent life which exists in all this
immensity? Are we really alone ?

Throughout history there have been sightings of creatures from
elsewhere. Science fiction novels and films with flying saucers and
bizarre looking aliens are part of our general culture. Perhaps the
Earth is really only an experiment designed by mice and soon we will
all be destroyed to make way for a new interstellar highway !

The possibility that there is life in the Universe has always excited
the general public and scientists are equally enthusiastic.
Physicists, biologists, chemists, cosmologists, astronomers are
researching all over Europe to try to answer this age-old question :
Is there life in the Universe ?

Our current understanding

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 they looking for? What would the
reaction be if other forms of life were discovered?

The European Organisation for
Nuclear Research (CERN)
, the European Space Agency (ESA) and
the European Southern Observatory
, in cooperation with the European Association
for Astronomy Education (EAAE)
have organised a competition to
find out what the young people in Europe think. The European Molecular Biology
Laboratory (EMBL)
and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
are also associated with the programme.

The “Life in the Universe” programme

ESO PR Video Clip 05/01 [192x144 pix MPEG-version]

PR Video Clip 05/01

(13300 frames/8:52 min)

Video+Audio; 192×144 pix; 12.1Mb]

streaming; 56kps]

ESO Video Clip 05/01 is a trailer for the Europe-wide
“Life in the Universe” programme. It touches upon some of the main
issues and includes statements by members of the Experts’ Panel.

The “Life in the Universe” programme is being mounted in
collaboration with the research directorate of the European Commission
for the “European Week of Science and Technology” in November

Competitions are already underway in 23 European countries [2] to find the best projects from school students
between 14 and 18. The projects can be scientific or a piece of art,
a theatrical performance, poetry or even a musical performance. The
only restriction is that the final work must be based on scientific

Two winning teams from each country will be invited to a final
event at CERN’s headquarters, in Geneva on 8-11 November, 2001 to
present their projects to a panel of International Experts at a
special three day event devoted to understanding the possibility of
other life forms existing in our Universe. This final event will be
broadcast all over the world via the Internet.

The website

The home base of the ‘Life in the Universe” project is a vibrant
web space


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


[1] This is a joint Press Release by the European Organization for Nuclear
Research (CERN)
, the European
Space Agency (ESA)
and the European Southern Observatory
. These European intergovernmental research organisations
organised the highly successful Physics On Stage programme
during the European Week of Science and Technology in 2000.

[2] The 23 countries are Austria, Belgium,
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
United Kingdom.

CERN, the European
Organization for Nuclear Research
, has its headquarters in
Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,
the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the
Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America,
Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have observer status.

The European Space Agency
is an international/intergovernmental organisation made
of 15 member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. ESA provides and promotes, for
peaceful purposes only, cooperation among its member states in space
research, technology and their applications. With ESA, Europe shapes
and shares space for people, companies and the scientific

The European Southern Observatory
is an intergovernmental organisation supported by
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Sweden and Switzerland. ESO is a major driving force in European
astronomy, performing tasks that are beyond the capabilities of the
individual member countries. The ESO La Silla Observatory (Chile) is one
of the largest and best-equipped in the world. Of ESO’s Very Large Telescope Array
at Cerro Paranal (Chile), the
four 8.2-m telescopes, ANTU, KUEYEN, MELIPAL and YEPUN are already in
operation; the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) follows next.

Useful “Life in the Universe” addresses

“Life in the Universe” main website: http://www.lifeinuniverse.org

“Life in the Universe” website at ESO: http://www.eso.org/outreach/spec-prog/liu

International Steering Committee (ISC)
Monica de Pasquale (Executive Coordinator)
CH-1211 Geneva 23

email: monica.de.pasquale@cern.ch
Telephone: +41-22-7676338
Fax: +41-22-7677960

National Steering Committees (NSC) (current status) 


Christian Gottfried
Theobaldgasse 16/13
A-1060 Wien
Tel: +43.1.587.46.02
Fax: +43.1.586.20.90
e-mail: christian.gottfried@cern.ch


Veselka Radeva
Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium
PO Box 120
E-Mail: radevi@mail.varna.techno.link.com


Anne Vaernholt Olesen
Tycho Brahe Planetarium
Gammel Kongevej 10
DK-1610 Copenhagen V
E-Mail: Anne_O@tycho.dk


Kertu Saks
Tallinn Technology and Science Centre Energy
Pohja Blvd. 29
Tallinn 10415
E-Mail: kertu.saks@energia.ee


Lauri Kervonen
National Board of Education
Hakaniemenkatu 2
FIN-00531 Helsinki
E-Mail: Lauri.kervonen@oph.fi


Bernard Pellequer
Geospace Observatoire d’Aniane
Institut de Botanique
163 rue Auguste Broussonet
F-34090 Montpellier
E-Mail: bernard.pellequer@geospace-online.com


Elisabeth Lahr-Nilles
Max-Planck-Institut fuer Radioastronomie
Auf dem Huegel 69
D-53121 Bonn
E-Mail: e.lahr-nilles@gmx.de


Margarita Metaxa
63, Ethnikis Antistaseos
GR-15231 Athens
E-Mail: mmetaxa@compulink.gr


Kevin Nolan
School of Applied Science
Institute of Technology
Tallaght, Dublin 24
E-Mail: knolan@seti.it-tallaght.ie


Cristina Palici di Suni
Via Giulia di Barolo 3
E-Mail: palici@aerre.it


Fernand Wagner
Laboratoire de Physique
LycÈe de Garcons d’Esch
Boite Postale 195
L-4002 Esch/Alzette
E-Mail: fernand.wagner@educ.lu

The Netherlands

Gert Schooten
Holtmate 14
NL-8014 HA Zwolle
E-Mail: gertschooten@wish.net


Barbara Popielawska
Space Research Center, P.A.N.
ul. Bartycka 18a
PL-00 716 Warszawa
E-Mail: bpop@cbk.waw.pl


Felisbela Martins
ASTRO – Apartado 52503 Amial
P-4202 301 Porto
E-mail: Felisbela.Martins@ip.pt


Magda Stavinschi
Str. Cutitul de Argint
RO-75212 Bucharest
E-Mail: magda@roastro.astro.ro

Sloval Republic

Dalibor Krupa
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Stefanikova 49
SK-814 38 Bratislava
E-Mail: fyzikrup@savba.sk


Rosa de Ros
Dept. Applied Mathematics IV
Technical University of Catalonia
Jordi Girona 1-3, modul C3
E-Mail: ros@mat.upc.es


Björn Lingons
Mediecenter Stockholm
Box 10432
S-10432 Stockholm
E-Mail: bjlin@avc.edu.stockholm.se


Michael Reichen
Gymnase de Nyon
Route de Divonne 8
Case Postale
CH-1260 Nyon 2
E-Mail: michael.reichen@freesurf.ch

United Kingdom

Alan Pickwick
19 Egdale Grove
Cheshire M33 4RG
United Kingdom
E-Mail: Alan_C_Pickwick@compuserve.com

Life in the Universe : Experts’ Panel 

  • Ricardo Amils,
    Centro de Biología Molecular (CBM), Madrid, Spain
  • Willy Benz,
    Universität Bern, Switzerland
  • Roger Bonnet,
    ESA Headquarters, Paris, France
  • Athéna Coustenis,
    Observatoire de Meudon, France
  • Pascale Ehrenfreund,
    Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands
  • John Ellis,
    CERN, Geneva, France
  • Monica Grady,
    Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom
  • Maurice Jacob,
    CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd,
    CNRS, Paris, France
  • Michel Mayor,
    Geneva Observatory, Switzerland
  • Juan Perez Mercader,
    Centro de Astrobiología, Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain
  • Ian Morison,
    Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield, United Kingdom
  • Hubert Reeves,
    Centre Nationale De La Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
  • Peter Schuster,
    Vienna, Austria
  • Tilman Spohn,
    Institut für Planetologie, Münster, Germany
  • John Zarnecki,
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom