Research & Activities


The 3rd ELSI International Symposium

January 13, 2015 - January 15, 2015

Click here for the program
Click here for the list of abstracts for oral presentation
Click here for the list of abstracts for poster presentation
Click here for the symposium announcement poster

Earth-Life Science Institute is pleased to announce that the 3rd ELSI International Symposium will be held on January 13 -15, 2015.

"Life in the Universe"

Place: Kuramae Hall, Ookayama campus, Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Kuramae Hall is located across the street from Ookayama Station. When you exit the station, you will see a sign for Excelsior Caffe straight ahead across the street. The venue entrance is across from the cafe, in the glass doors.)
Organizing Institute: Earth-Life Science Institute

Scientific Organizing Committee:

Piet Hut (chair)
Yuka Fujii (co-chair for Signs of Life)
Hidenori Genda (co-chair for Cradles of Life)
Jun Kimura (co-chair for Poster Session)
Nathaniel Virgo (co-chair for Universal Life)

Local Organizing Committee:

Alexis Gilbert (chair)
Jun Kimura
Hanako Ricciardi
Asako Sato
Yu Yonehara

The main theme of ELSI's 3rd International Symposium is the fundamental question: "Is there life in the Universe, outside Earth?" We still don't know the answer, but there is a good chance that the answer will be found within our lifetime. Robotic exploration within the solar system, as well as observations of planets circling other stars, may soon give us more tentative hints, and possibly even convincing evidence, of extraterrestrial forms of life. During the 3-day symposium, we will address three questions, respectively: 1) which planets seem fit as potential cradles of life; 2) what can we say about the likely properties of more universal forms of life, different from the one specific example we know on Earth; and 3) how can we best try to find signs of life elsewhere.


Day 1: Planets as Cradles of Life
co-chair Hidenori Genda (ELSI)
Day 2: Towards Universal Biology
co-chair Nathaniel Virgo (ELSI)
Day 3: Signs of Life on Other Planets
co-chair Yuka Fujii (ELSI)

Confirmed Speakers:

Jim Cleaves (ELSI/IAS)
Lee Cronin (Univ. of Glasgow)
Bruce Damer (UC Santa Cruz)
Bethany L. Ehlmann (Caltech)
Chrisantha Fernando (Google DeepMind)
Yuka Fujii (ELSI)
Hidenori Genda (ELSI)
Rolf de Groot (European Space Agency)
Nicholas Guttenberg (ELSI)
John Hernlund (ELSI)
Paulien Hogeweg (Utrecht Univ.)
Nicholas Hud (Georgia Tech)
Shigeru Ida (ELSI)
Takashi Ikegami (Univ. of Tokyo)
Tetsuo Irifune(ELSI/GRC)
Chris McKay (Ames/NASA)
Stephen Mojzsis (Univ. of Colorado)
Takeshi Naganuma (Hiroshima Univ.)
Tyler Robinson (Ames/NASA)
Antigona Segura (UNAM)
David J. Stevenson (Caltech)
Seiji Sugita (Univ. of Tokyo)
Wesley Traub (JPL/NASA)
Yuichiro Ueno (ELSI)
Mary Voytek (NASA)
Hikaru Yabuta (Osaka Univ.)

Program Schedule:

NOTE: each session is structured as follows:
Keynote talk: 30 minutes + 20 minutes discussion
other speakers: 12 minutes + 8 minutes discussion

Day 1 (Tuesday, January 13, 2015)
Planets as Cradles of Life (co-chair Hidenori Genda)

Welcome Message by Kei Hirose, Director of ELSI (8:50 ― 8:55)
Introductory Remarks by Piet Hut, Chair of the Symposium (8:55 ― 9:00)

Session 1 : Chair George Helffrich (9:00 ― 10:30)

Keynote speaker: David J. Stevenson (Caltech), "Planetary Diversity"
1. Shigeru Ida (ELSI), "Planet formation and origins of H2O, C and N on the Earth"
2. John Hernlund (ELSI), "The potential importance of Mg/Si ratio in terrestrial planet evolution"

Coffee Break (10:30 ― 11:00)

Session 2 : Chair Kei Hirose (11:00 ― 12:30)

Keynote speaker: Stephen Mojzsis (Univ. of Colorado), "Early Earth vs. Origin of Life"
1. Yuichiro Ueno (ELSI), "Carboxylic acids from Hadean and Archean atmosphere"
2. Hidenori Genda (ELSI), "Splashed Hadean Seawater Hypothesis"

Lunch (12:30 ― 14:00)

Session 3 : Chair Hidenori Genda (14:00 ― 15:30)

Keynote speaker: Seiji Sugita (Tokyo Univ.), "The Early Atmospheres of Terrestrial Planets inferred from Impact Experiments and Asteroid Missions"
1. Hikaru Yabuta (Osaka Univ.), "Expansion of Organic Cosmochemistry in the New Era of Small Body Missions"
2. Tetsuo Irifune (ELSI/GRC), "Chemical compositions of the mantle transition region and the lower mantle of the Earth"

Posters with flash talks on "Planets as Cradles of Life", and Beer (15:30 ― 17:00)

Panel Discussion (17:00 ― 18:00)
Moderator: John Hernlund

ELSI will host a Public Lecture in the same symposium hall from 18:30 20:00.
The title of this event is also "Life in the Universe".
Speakers: Mary Voytek (NASA), "How do we look for life beyond Earth?" and Shigeru Ida (ELSI), "Clues from the Moon for understanding the Earth and its life's origins"
Emcee: Piet Hut (ELSI/IAS)

Day 2 (Wednesday, January 14, 2015)
Towards Universal Biology (co-chair Nathaniel Virgo)

Session 1 : Chair Daisuke Kiga (9:00 ― 10:30)

Keynote speaker: Nicholas Hud (Georgia Tech), "A Self-Assembly Approach to Proto-RNA"
1. Chrisantha Fernando (Google DeepMind), "Open-Ended Evolution Revisited"
2. Mary Voytek (NASA), "Towards a Universal Biology"

Coffee Break (10:30 ― 11:00)

Session 2 : Chair John Hernlund (11:00 ― 12:30)

Keynote speaker: Paulien Hogeweg (Utrecht Univ.), "Toward a bioinformatic theory of living systems"
1. Nicholas Guttenberg (ELSI), "Detecting the signatures of heredity in generative chemistries"
2. Takashi Ikegami (Tokyo Univ.), "A study of a boids model at large scale"

Lunch (12:30 ― 14:00)

Session 3 : Chair Takashi Ikegami (Tokyo Univ.) (14:00 ― 15:30)

Keynote speaker: Lee Cronin (Univ. of Glasgow), "Engineering the Transition to Evolvable Chemistry: Inorganic Biology"
1. Bruce Damer (UC Santa Cruz), "Coupled Phase Cycles: A Testable Origin of Life Scenario for Fluctuating Inland Volcanic Hydrothermal Fields"
2. Jim Cleaves (ELSI/IAS), "Some Perspectives on the Origin of Life from Organic Chemical Space"

Posters with flash talks on "Towards Universal Biology", and Beer (15:30 ― 17:00)

Panel Discussion (17:00 ― 18:00)
Moderator: Nathaniel Virgo (ELSI)

From 19:00 ― Symposium Banquet held in the ELSI building, 1st floor (MAP)

Day 3 (Thursday, January 15, 2015)
Signs of Life on Other Planets (co-chair Yuka Fujii)

Session 1 : Chair Joe Kirschvink (Caltech/ELSI) (9:00 ― 10:10)

Keynote speaker: Rolf de Groot (European Space Agency), "The ExoMars Programme: searching for traces of life on Mars"
Speaker: Bethany L. Ehlmann (Caltech), "The Aqueous Environments of Early Mars: Where are the Biosignatures and Where Should We Be Looking?"

Coffee Break (10:10 ― 10:40)

Session 2 : Chair Joe Kirschvink (Caltech/ELSI) (10:40 ― 11:50)

Keynote: Chris McKay (Ames/NASA), "Search for life on other worlds of our Solar System"
Speaker: Takeshi Naganuma (Hiroshima Univ.), "Generation and transportation of molecular oxygen to sub-ice ocean of Europa"

Lunch (11:50 ― 13:20)

Session 3 : Chair Shigeru Ida (ELSI) and Jun Kimura (ELSI) (13:20 ― 15:40)

Keynote speaker: Wesley Traub (JPL/NASA), "Future Prospects for Characterizing Earth-size Exoplanets"
Speaker: Tyler Robinson (Ames/NASA), "Strengths and Limitations of Reflected-light Observations of the Pale Blue Dot"

Keynote: Antigona Segura (UNAM), "Oxygen as a biosignature, the importance of the geological context"
Speaker: Yuka Fujii (ELSI), "Color variation of planets"

Posters with flash talks on "Signs of Life on Other Planets", and Beer (15:40 ― 17:10)

Panel Discussion (17:10 ― 18:10)
Moderator: TBD

Day 4 (Friday, January 16, 2015)
Symposium @ ELSI (Click here for the program)

Registration of participation and poster presentation are now open.
First, create your ELSI account.
To fill out the application form, please go to the following webpage for registration:
Then, go to ELSI website https://members.elsi.jp/ and login with your ELSI User ID you have registered.
Click "3rd ELSI International Symposium" at the right column and start registration.

Deadline for participation/poster registration is 14 Dec, 2014
(Due to the limited space available to present posters, we may stop accepting applications earlier).

Other Information
*Tuesday, January 13, 2015, ELSI will host a public lecture titled "Life in the Universe", with speakers Mary Voytek (NASA) and Shigeru Ida (ELSI.) Starting time 18:30, same venue as the symposium.
*Evening of Wednesday, January 14, 2015, there will be a Symposium Banquet held in the ELSI building.
*Friday, January 16, 2015, we invite all symposium participants to the event "Day@ELSI", to continue scientific exchange and enjoy a catered lunch at ELSI.
*If you have any questions for the symposium or other events, please send an email to "sympo-03info@elsi.jp"