Course notes will appear here one day prior to the lecture or the same day.





Lecture 1. (ppt) (pdf) Overview

January 7th 2008


Lecture 2. (ppt) (pdf) The possibility of life beyond earth & historical backgrounds

{Textbook pages 1-32}

January 9th 2008


Lecture 3. (ppt) (pdf) Exercise on Kepler`s laws +

Movie on Keppler`s laws (Cosmos series, Part III: The harmony of the world. Episode 8 (35 min), by Carl Sagan)

{Textbook pages 28-30}

January 11th 2008


Lecture 4. (ppt) (pdf) Modern science & essential concepts of physics and astronomy + Movie on gravitation. (Hubble - 15 years of discovery (15 minutes). Chapter 5. Monsters in space, black holes, worm holes, gamma rays; Chapter 6. Gravitational lensing)

{Textbook pages 33-43, 81-88}

January 14th 2008


Lecture 5. (ppt) (pdf) Essential concepts of physics and astronomy & the Universe + Movie on Doppler effect and the Universe. Carl Sagan`s Cosmos, Disk X (26 min): Ch. 5. Doppler effect, Ch. 6. Humason, Ch. 7. Dimensions, Ch. 8. The Universe) Go to download Comet Holmes short movie

{Textbook pages 48-51, 86-88}

January 16th 2008


Lecture 6. (ppt) (pdf) The Structure and Scale of the Universe +Movie (Hubble DVD 15 Years of Discovery, Chapter 5, Cosmic collisions),  Movie 1 (Hubblecast 05: Hubble discovers ring of dark matter); Movie 2 (COSMOS Video News Release); Movie 3 (Hubble DVD 15 Years of Discovery, Chapter 8, Birth and death of the universe).

{Textbook pages 52-61, 388-393}

January 18th 2008


Lecture 7. (ppt) (pdf) Big Bang evidence . Stellar lives + Movie7a (Hubble news Full heic0312 Video News Release); Movie 7b (Hubble DVD 15 Years of Discovery, Chapter 4, The lives of stars); Movie 7c (Hubble news Full heic0306 Video News Release).

{Textbook pages 58-63}

January 21st 2008


Lecture 8. (ppt) (pdf) The scale of time and nature of worlds + Movie 8 (Hubble 15 years of discovery, Chapter 9. Looking to the end of time, 9 min), Movie8b. (Comet Shoemaker Levy colliding with Jupiter, ESA/NASA Hubble), Movie8c. (View from Sedna, ESA/NASA, Hubble)

{Textbook pages 64-74}

January 23rd, 2008


Lecture 9. (ppt) (pdf) The nebular theory + Movie (Hubble 15 years of discovery, Chapter 3. Planetary tales)

{Textbook pages 74-80}

January 25th, 2008


Lecture 10. (ppt) (pdf) Geology and life - part 1. Type of rocks. Radiometric dating. Fossil formation. Geological time scale. The age of Earth. The Hadean Earth and dawn of life. The heavy bombardment. Earth`s structure, differentiation and internal heat.

{Textbook pages 99-123}

January 28th, 2008


Lecture 11. (ppt) (pdf) Geology and life - part 2. Plate tectonics. Retention of planetary atmospheres. The magnetic field of Earth. Climate regulation and change. The carbon dioxide cycle, ice ages & snowball Earth.

{Textbook pages 124-145}

January 30, 2008


Lecture 12. (ppt) (pdf) The nature of life on Earth. Defining life. Evolution. Cells as the basic units of life + Movie. (13 min) Carl Sagan. Cosmos, Disk. 2. Episodes 1-4. Natural selection, artificial selection (unofficial link)

{Textbook pages 148-164}

February 1st, 2008


Lecture 13. (ppt) (pdf) Midterm review.

February 4th, 2008



February 6th, 2008


Lecture 14. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Molecular components of cells. + Movie. (30 min) Cosmos series. Carl Sagan - Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth. Part 1 (unofficial link), Part 2 (unofficial link)

{Textbook pages  163-164}

February 8th, 2008


Lecture 15. updated! (ppt) (pdf) DNA and heredity. Induced pluripotent stem cells.

{Textbook pages 165-166, 171-178}

February 11th, 2008


Lecture 16. (ppt) (pdf) Phylogenetic tree. Metabolism. Carbon and energy sources.

{Textbook pages 167-171}

February 13th, 2008


Lecture 17. Movie. Discovery channel. Origin and evolution of life.



Midterm reading week 18-22 February



Lecture 18. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Life at the extremes - extremophiles. Part I. High temperatures , thermophiles.

{Textbook pages 178-181}

February 25th, 2008


Lecture 19. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Life at the extremes - extremophiles. Part II. Low temperatures, psychrophiles. High salinity, halophiles.

February 27th, 2008


Lecture 20. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Life at the extremes - extremophiles. Part III. Acid pH - acidophile, Alkaline pH - alkaliphile, Radiation - radiotolerant, Subsurface rocks environments - endoliths, High pressure - barophiles, Anaerobes, Methanogens, Low carbon - oligotrophs, Low water activity - xerophiles.

February 29th, 2008


Lecture 21. (ppt) (pdf) The origin and evolution of life on Earth. Part I. Evidence  towards the origin of life (stromatolites, microfossils, isotopic evidence),  Panspermia.

March 3rd, 2008

Textbook pages 190-197, 203-206


Wednesday, March 5th - Due to extreme weather conditions Phys 214 class is cancelled.


Lecture 22. (ppt) (pdf) The origin and evolution of life on Earth. Part II. Origin and evolution of life. Sources of organic molecules on Earth. RNA world hypothesis. Self-assembled membranes. Template hypothesis. The evolution of Eukarya. Cambrian explosion. Mass extinction events

March 7th, 2008

Textbook pages 198-203, 206-217


Lecture 23. (ppt) (pdf) Origin and evolution of life. Part III. Mass extinction events. Human evolution. Movie: Cosmos. Disk XI: Intelligence - Ch. 4, 5 (15 min)

March 10th, 2008

Textbook pages 218-225


Lecture 24. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Searching for life in our Solar system. Moon.

Movie. Collisions. Impacts, Tunguska, comets, Arizona crater,  Solar System craters, Moon craters  (29 min) (Cosmos Disk 4. Ch. 1 - 6)

March 12th, 2008

Textbook pages 236-243


Lecture 25. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Searching for life in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune. Movies: Planet Venus (12 min); Alien life on Jupiter (3 min); Movies: Jupiter1, Jupiter2, SaturnRingsCrossing, SaturnPole, Uranusmagnetic, Neptunespot

March 14th, 2008

Textbook pages 243-255


Lecture 26. (ppt) (pdf) Searching for life in our Solar System: Mars. Movie. (3 min)

March 17th, 2008

Textbook pages 261-290


Lecture 27. (ppt) (pdf) First steps on Mars. (50 min) Movie on Mars exploration. Not posted on the web due to copyright issues & required for the exam. Attend this lecture!

March 19th, 2008


Lecture 28. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Life on Jovian Moons. Formation, composition, and synchronous rotation of jovian moons. Tidal heating. Orbital resonance. Jupiter`s moons Io. Movie Io.

March 24th, 2008

Textbook pages 295-305


Lecture 29. updated! (ppt) (pdf) Searching for life on Jupiter`s moons Europa (movie Europa), Ganymede, & Callisto; Saturn`s moon Enceladus (Enceladus movie 1, movie 2, movie 3); Saturn`s moon Titan (Titan movie, Titan movie 1; movie 2; movie 3; movie 4); Neptune`s moon Triton.

March 26th, 2008


Lecture 30. (ppt) (pdf) Habitability in star systems. Extrasolar planets. Solar flares movie.

March 28th, 2008

Textbook pages 329-353, 360-392


Lecture 31. (ppt) (pdf) Drake equation. Search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Interstellar travel. Conclusions

March 31st, 2008

Textbook pages 399-418, 438-454, 478-485



Lecture 32. Final Review. (ppt) (pdf)

April 2nd, 2008



Lecture 33. Presentation by students of the best abstracts submitted at the Pretend Conference of Astrobiology, Kingston, April 4th. The names of the presenters will be announced by e-mail Tuesday morning, April 1st.

April 4th, 2008


Check your marks on WebCT!




Final exam on April 12th, 2008, at 19:00, duration - 2 hours. Location: Stirling D.


If you have conflicts, tournaments, or it is more convenient for you to have it earlier, an additional date is


Friday April 4th, at 12:30, duration - 2 hours: Location Room 501.


Room 501 has only 75 seats (compared to 94 students), therefore if you plan on having your final exam on April 4th, e-mail me to make sure we don't exceed the number of seats. 


These two dates will be the ONLY dates for the Phys214 final exam. 


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