Saturday 18 March
Lecturer: Dr. Nienke van der Marel (Leiden University)
The Building molecules in the Universe
The origin of life is one of the largest mysteries in the history of humanity. Life starts with the build up of molecules, which clump together to larger and larger chains, eventually resulting in biomolecules and DNA strings. Ultimately this means that life starts with small molecules such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methanol (CH3OH). Such molecules are frequently discovered by astronomers in the clouds surrounding young stars, as those stars are still forming. Since these clouds are very cold, it is clear that several of these molecules must form in the icy layers on dust grains, which evaporate when they get closer to the newly formed star. More recently, molecules are being discovered in the disks around the young stars as well, which means that these molecules will likely end up on the planets that form in these disks! In astrochemistry we try to measure the conditions in clouds and disks, in order to understand the chemical reactions that can happen here that lead to larger and larger molecules. In this talk I will present the latest insights from telescopes like ALMA and the possibilities with the new James Webb Space Telescope, that will tell us where life starts.
N.b.: Deze lezing is in het Engels / This lecture will be in English