Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beginnings: a Geochemist’s Outlook on the Origin of the Solar System, the Earth, the Continents and Life.

online course
when 9 January 2023 - 20 January 2023
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 850

The course is organized around 4 sessions of formal lectures of two hours each:
In the first session the formation of the Universe, the chemical elements, our solar system and the Earth is reviewed. The second session will focus on the formation of the continents and the oceans. In the third session we will review early life and the conditions that might have been favourable for it to form. What evidence can we find of this period of Earth history, and what might we find on Mars when we start to explore that planet in more detail? The lecture series concludes with the steps that led from the microbial communities of the early Precambrian to the emergence of multicellular life and animal life, immediately prior to the Paleozoic.

Course leader

prof. dr. J.R. Wijbrans

Target group

Target audience is geoscience graduate students and professionals, who wish to broaden their knowledge about the origin of the planet Earth.

Course aim

After having followed this course students will have an understanding of:
• The events that led to the formation of our solar system, and its chemical makeup.
• The time scales of processes that led to the formation of our solar system.
• Geochemical similarities and differences between the Earth, the Moon and Mars.
• The formation of the Earth’s continents and oceans.
• Environmental factors important for the formation of life
• Steps that led early microbial life to more complex forms of multicellular life.

Credits info

3 EC
Contact hours: 24

Fee info

EUR 850: Students, PhD students and employees of VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC or an Aurora Network Partner: €550*
Students and PhD students: €650*
Professionals: €850*
Applications received before 15 October: -€50 (Early Bird Discount)

The tuition fee includes:
- Application and registration
- Exclusive course content for a limited number of participants
- Individual/group guidance from the course organiser
- Access to all online VU facilities such as the library and online learning environments
- A certificate of attendance after completing the course
- A transcript of records, including the grade and the obtained ECTS
- The full support of the winter school team
- Optional social activities


VU Graduate Winter School offers several scholarships. More information can be found on the website.

Register for this course
on course website