Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy


Dr Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


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 be able to:

  1. Appreciate how the development of life is dependent on the conditions in the physical universe;
  2. Understand the necessary conditions for life and how species evolve;
  3. Appreciate how life depends on energy from the stars;
  4. Recognise the significance of solar system dynamics in providing the thermal requirements for life;
  5. Discuss modern theories of star and planet formation and evolution, and recognise the types of stars in galaxies;
  6. Theorise on the possibilities of other life forms;
  7. Discuss the development of consciousness;
  8. Understand how the universe will evolve, and 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 practical component of this unit, consisting of the project work and the support class work, to achieve a pass grade.

Workload requirements

  • Two 1-hour lecture/tutorials per week
  • One 2-hour workshop per week
  • Eight hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


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