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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor John Lattanzioand Dr Simon Campbell (School of Mathematical Sciences)


The characteristics of life, how life first appeared on the earth, whether these conditions can be expected to occur on other planets, the formation of stars and planets, the dynamics of planetary orbits and the habitable zones around stars, different kinds of stars and the light they emit, whether consciousness arises from elementary interactions between atoms and molecules, whether computers can be said to be conscious, the final state of the universe and the implications for any life present.


On completion of this unit, students will have an appreciation of how the development of life is dependent on the conditions in the physical universe. In particular, students will have some understanding of: the necessary conditions for life; how species evolve; how life depends on energy input from stars; the dynamics of the solar system with regard to the thermal requirements for life; what is known about planets around other stars; the evolution of stars and which stars are suitable for the appearance of life; modern theories of star and planet formation; the types of stars in galaxies; possibilities of other life forms; the development of consciousness; how the universe will evolve; what this means for the future of life in the universe


Examination (3 hours): 50%
Support class work: 30%
Project work: 10%
Assignments: 10%
Student must pass the final examination to be granted a pass grade

Chief examiner(s)

Professor John Lattanzio

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour laboratory class per week


Secondary science to Year 11 and mathematics to Year 12 (recommended)