Questing for Life: Emerging Scholar Workshops on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology

Center of Theological Inquiry

An interdisciplinary research institution in Princeton, NJ

Call for Applications

Questing for Life: Emerging Scholar Workshops on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology

June 6-9 and June 13-16, 2017

Astrobiology is the quest to understand the potential of the universe to harbor life beyond
Earth. Societal understanding of life on Earth has always developed in dialogue with scientific
investigations of its origin and evolution. Today, the science of astrobiology extends these
investigations to include the possibility of life in the universe. As astrobiology develops and its
discoveries become more widely known, scholars in the humanities and social sciences will
have new opportunities to interpret the significance of these discoveries and deepen our
understanding of life itself. These research workshops offer one such opportunity. Questing for
Life is for emerging scholars who are open to this new angle of vision on perennial questions.

The Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) will host two four-day workshops on the quest for life,
on Earth and beyond, focusing on the joint contributions of the sciences and humanities. Early
career scholars (doctoral students and post-docs) working on research related to astrobiology are
invited to apply. Sample topics include the use of narratives in understanding life in space; historical
studies of first encounters with other cultures and natural life on Earth; how literature and
the arts shape expectations of life; ethical, philosophical, and theological implications of the
quest; conceptual questions in defining life; theoretical problems in identifying life; the
legal, environmental, political, and commercial issues in planetary protection; and the
impact of astrobiology on views of nature for indigenous and world religions. CTI aims
to foster a community of discussion that crosses traditional boundaries.

Successful applicants will receive lodging and travel support to attend one of the workshops.
Workshop Leaders, Dr. Lucas Mix (Evolution, Astrobiology, and Theology) and Dr.
Frederick Simmons (Astrobiology and Ethics) are both members of CTI’s Inquiry on the
Societal Implications of Astrobiology. They and each emerging scholar will present a paper
and receive feedback toward publication. Participants will experience CTI’s distinctive
environment for collaborative research in Princeton, and extend their network of colleagues
investigating these topics. Applications should include a current CV, a short letter of interest, and
a research paper proposal of no more than 750 words that bears on the workshop’s theme.

For full details and online application, visit the CTI website:
Applications deadline: 26 March, 2017
Announcements: 10 April, 2017
Please direct questions to