University of Washington Astrobiology Conference

Press Release From: University of Washington
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Sun.-Wed., 5-8 August 2001 -- Crystal Mountain, Washington

The University of Washington's Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution is hosting an exciting conference at the dawn of the new field of Astrobiology. The purpose of this conference is to bring together experts to discuss Astrobiology's fundamental principles, past accomplishments, latest scientific results, and future research and technological directions. Rather than the usual proceedings, the conference will produce a graduate student level textbook invaluable to the overall development of the field: Astrobiology: The University of Washington Lectures. The book will be a high-level, interdisciplinary introduction to the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the geological, physical and chemical conditions that have spawned and sustained life, and the detection of extant and extinct life on other planets and moons.

The invited talks (35-40 minutes long) and resultant chapters are designed to be two-thirds background tutorial for those who are not in the field of the particular topic, with the remainder more technical and ephemeral; chapters should still be usable in five years and perhaps longer.

There will be no contributed oral papers, but poster sessions will be held. All-inclusive conference fees range from $300 to $550 (see below), depending on room occupany and grad student status. The meeting room is limited in size, so attendance may have to be limited (in which case we will return your entire registration fee); please send your registration form and fee as soon as possible; the absolute deadline is 10 July. The conference will be held at Crystal Mountain ski area, in the beautiful Cascade Mountains of Washington state, just northeast of Mt. Rainier National Park and within three hours' drive of Mt. St. Helens. Although in the wilderness, Crystal Mountain is only a two-hour drive from Seattle airport. If you wish, you can take our shuttle bus service to and fro, or for greater freedom you can of course rent a car. August is the ideal month for the Cascades: the high snows have largely melted, wildflowers are peaking in the Alpine meadows, weather is fair and in the high 70s F, and twilight remains until about 9 pm.

In addition, you are invited to participate in a concurrent, informal Summer Institute in Astrobiology on the UW campus in Seattle for any portion of the three-week period Mon. 30 July through Fri. 17 August. Further details are below.



WELCOME - J. Baross & W. Sullivan


1. History of astrobiology (W. Sullivan, UW)


1. Origin of planets, elements, comets, asteroids, meteorites (D. Brownlee, UW)
2. Early Earth history, habitats, biogeochemical markers (D. DesMarais, Ames)
3. History of the Earth's atmosphere (R. Gammon, UW)


1. The origin of life: the crucial issues (R. Shapiro, NYU)
2. Metabolic cycles and the origin of life (G. Cody, Carnegie)
3. The origin of proteins and nucleic acids (S. Benner, Florida)
4. The first cell - assembling the parts (D. Deamer, UCSC)


1. The origin and evolution of bacteria and archaea (D. Stahl, UW)
2. The origin and evolution of metabolic pathways (J. Staley, UW)
3. The origin and evolution of eukaryotes (M. Sogin, MBL)
4. Extremophiles and the limits of life (J. Deming/J. Baross, UW)


1. The fossil record (S. Awramik, UCLA)
2. Mass extinctions - resetting the clock (P. Ward, UW)


1. Mars (B. Jakosky, Colorado)
2. Europa (C. Chyba, SETI Inst.)
3. Titan (J. Lunine, Arizona)
4. Extra-solar planets (P. Butler, DTM)


1. Spacecraft instrumentation (W. Zimmerman/P. Conrad, JPL)
2. Ethical issues in astrobiology (M. Race)
3. Planetary protection: issues regarding sample return (J. Rummel, NASA)
4. SETI (F. Drake, UCSC)
VIII. SUMMARY (C. Chyba, SETI Inst.)



[Sat. 4 Aug. - OPTIONAL - early arrival for a more relaxed weekend, but car rental and preparing meals in your room's kitchen will be necessary; also allows participation in day-long group hike on Sunday from10 am to 5:30 pm)]

Sun. 5 Aug - arrival at Seattle's Sea-Tac airport; catch conference bus at 12 noon or 3 pm; short group hike (2:30-5:30) or free time; first conference meal is a buffet dinner at 6:30, followed by a reception at 8:00

Mon. 6 Aug - sessions 8:30-9:50, 10:20-12:00, 1:30-2:50, 3:20-5:20
- in evening: poster session and roundtable discussion

Tue. 7 Aug - same during day; informal banquet and talk in evening

Wed. 8 Aug. - sessions 8:30-12:00; lunch; buses leave for SeaTac at 1:00 pm (possible to catch 4:00 pm flight)



The conference registration fee is all-inclusive. Covered are:

- 3 nights' lodging
- all meals (Sunday dinner through Wednesday lunch, including Sunday evening reception and Tuesday evening banquet)
- conference expenses
- bus transportation from SeaTac airport on Sunday and return to the airport on Wednesday
- copy of the conference book, once published

The inclusive, regular conference fee is $550 for single occupancy in a room, $400 for double occupancy, and $350 for triple occupancy. We will match roommates, unless you indicate otherwise. These rates are valid for all registrations postmarked by 20 June; after that date rates are $50 higher. The very latest date we can accept registrations is 10 July. Graduate students are given a $50 reduction in the fees quoted above.

All rooms are suites and can sleep up to 3 persons. Each has living area, full kitchen, fireplace, TV and VCR. Spouses and families are welcome. Most participants will stay three nights, but you can arrange to stay for as many nights as desired. If you wish to arrive earlier and/or leave later, please reserve with Crystal Mountain toll-free at 888-668-4368 (or at 360-663-2558), and pay for the extra nights separately. If you do arrive early or stay later, you should bring your own food for those days and prepare meals in the room's kitchen. The last town in which to obtain food is Enumclaw, about 60 km from Crystal Mountain.

If you live off-site, you can save on registration ($280 fee), but you will need a rental car. A tent campground, called Silver Springs and run by the US Forest Service, is available 10 km from the meeting site; if you wish to stay there, please make your own reservations by calling toll free 877-444-6777; if calling from outside the US, call 518-885-4282 and tell them that you are calling from outside the US and wish to speak to the NRRS. The website may also be used. Driving time to the nearest motels is prohibitively long and is not recommended.



In addition, the University of Washington Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution invites all Crystal Mountain attendees to a concurrent, informal Summer Institute in Astrobiology that will run on the UW campus in Seattle for the 3 weeks of Mon. 30 July through Fri. 17 August. We invite you to "take up residence" for anytime during this period, to refresh your mind, to get some work done, and to intellectually cross-fertilize with the various members of the UW Astrobiology community and with other Summer Institute participants. There is no fee for the Institute, but you must register below by 10 July; this form should accompany your registration form and payment for the Crystal Mountain meeting.

We will find you a desk and computer, and run a daily series of informal lunchtime seminars, but otherwise there is no formal program. Unfortunately we cannot cover any travel or per diem expenses associated with the Summer Institute, but we will supply you with information on motels within one mile of campus (costs of $80-100 per night) and good restaurants. Information on nearby motels and hotels is listed at Seattle has a decent public bus system, so it should not be necessary for you to rent a car if you confine activities to within the city. We hope to be able to accommodate everyone that wishes to visit, but cannot guarantee this.


Further information

Regarding the scientific program:

John Baross and Woody Sullivan, organizers
Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution, Univ. of Washington, 206-543-0833, 206-543-7773

Regarding all other matters:

Linda Schieber, conference coordinator, 206-543-9541

Useful websites

Crystal Mountain resort:

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount St. Helens National Monument

UW Astrobiology Program:

University of Washington campus

Astrobiology Conference Registration
Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington
August 5 - 8, 2001

1. Personal Information:

Phone_____________ Fax_____________
Institution______________________Date of PhD______
Graduate Student? yes _____no _____
Gender: Female_____Male _____
Accompanying Person(s)_________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

Poster Title____________________________________________________________

Poster Authors & Affiliations (include yourself)_______________________________


Any special poster requirements?


Poster Abstract: please attach on separate sheet with Title and Authors as a heading. This page will be reproduced in a booklet for the meeting.

2. Transport to and from SeaTac Airport and Crystal Mountain Resort:

A hospitality suite will be available for your use at a hotel near SeaTac Airport from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, Sunday, August 5. A bus will pick up conference attendees from the hotel at 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. The one-way trip to Crystal Mountain takes about 2 hours. The return bus trip from Crystal Mountain to SeaTac airport will depart at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, August 8. You should not book an outgoing flight departing before 4:00 pm on Wednesday.

I will take the bus departing the airport hotel on Sunday at (please check one): _____12 noon

_____3 pm

I will arrange for my own transportation _____

3. Mountain Hikes:
I plan on participating in the following hike:

Sunday, 10:00 - 5:30 pm (requires arrival on Saturday; bring your own lunch) _____

Sunday, 2:30 - 5:30 pm _____

4. Disability Accommodations:

I will need the following disability accommodations (please be specific):


5. Meals:

All meals are provided, with both vegetarian and carnivorous entrees. Please describe any dietary restrictions we should know about. Please also be aware that facilities are extremely limited at the resort, and transportation to the nearest town, Enumclaw (60 km away), is only possible with a private car. Be sure to bring any items of special need with you from home.

Special dietary needs___________________________________________________

6. Inclusive Registration Fee (**before June 20**): Based on the number of persons per room:

Regular Grad Student

        a.      $550            $500            single

        b.        400             350           double:  Please provide name
of other party, if known:


        c.        350             300           triple:  Please provide
names of other parties, if known:



        d.        280             230           living off-site
7. PAYMENT: Please make check in US funds payable to "Astrobiology Conference," and send by snail mail to:

Astrobiology Conference
Astronomy Department, Box 351580
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195 USA

Unfortunately, we cannot accept payment in any other form than a check in US funds. Thanks.

8. Late Registration:

The rates above are for registrations postmarked by June 20. For later registration, please add $50.00 to each category. Last possible date to register is July 10.



Dates of workdays I wish to be on UW campus _____________________

Department I prefer to have an office in: ____________________

(choices: Astronomy, Atmospheric Sciences, Geological Sciences, Geophysics, Microbiology, Oceanography)

Special requests:


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