financial support available for young European scientists and others; click on funding for information:
XIIèmes Rencontres de Blois
(site updated June 20, 2000)
Frontiers of life
25th June - 1st July 2000
|Introduction||Links to various forms|
|New (6/6/00)! Information Bulletin no. 1||Practical organization|
|Confeence location||Scientific programme New (20/6/00)!|
|Contributed papers||Social activities|
|Funding||Travel New (6/6/00)!|
|New (6/6/00)! Poster specification|
This is an announcement and call for contributions for an international conference which will be held in the Château of Blois, in France's Loire Valley.
Frontiers of Life will build on the growing realization that we have so far had a remarkably parochial view of the nature of life; recent discoveries that terrestrial life exists in the most "unlifelike" environments which owe very little to conventional biological processes - deep below the sea, in mineral crevices, around hot seabed vents, for example - has forced us to re-examine our understanding of both the nature of life and of its origins; the old question "What is life?" has now broadened and deepened to "Where is life not" and "Whence life". With the discovery of extra solar planetary systems as well as the (hotly contested) speculations that Mars may once have harboured microbiotic life and the emerging theories that Europa, a satellite of Jupiter, could have an internal warm water "ocean", these questions have taken on new meanings.
The closing years of the 20th century have witnessed not only a change in our perspective of what constitutes life; we are also learning rapidly how to study and even manipulate its genetic basis. This is in itself a remarkable achievement, exploiting the talents of a spectrum of specialists and techniques often drawn from quite unrelated disciplines. In fact genotyping to the life sciences is as accelerator physics is to subnuclear physics in that both are faced by an exponentially growing mass of data and one's ability to do useful science is increasingly constrained by the data analysing and processing techniques available. Indeed, the recent description of genome structures is generating a huge amount of information. Conceptual and technical advances are urgently required for the analysis of such data, and they must be based on transversal, multidisciplinary contributions from fields that at present still interact relatively little: bioinformatics, mathematics and statistical physics, molecular biology, developmental biology, physiology, evolution theory. It is surely significant that some of the latest techniques in this domain owe less to the classical biophysics laboratory and rather more to the industrial manufacture of computer chips.
Frontiers of life will be articulated about the following themes:
|The Rencontres de Blois
are international conferences, whose spirit is explicitly
multidisciplinary. They have now been organized for a number of years
in the city of Blois, in France, and have covered topics ranging from
particle physics to chaos theory, life and planetary science. They are
a mix of invited and contributed papers; posters are also very welcome.
Young researchers are particularly encouraged to attend and for this
purpose we have set aside funds to partially cover their participation
in this conference.|
Frontiers of life is the second of a series of three Rencontres, the first of which, Frontiers of matter, was held in the summer of 1999. The third, Frontiers of the Universe, is scheduled for the year 2001.
INFORMATION BULLETIN N° 1
I. PLACE AND DATE
The XIIth Rencontres de Blois, entitled «Frontiers of Life» will be held at the Château Royal de Blois, France, from Sunday, June 25th to Saturday, July 1st, 2000. The postal address of the conference when in session is:
|Rencontres de Blois
Château de Blois
41000 BLOIS, France
The picturesque old French town of Blois, famous for its XIV-XVIIth century chateau, is located 170 km (100 miles) from Paris in the beautiful region of the «Châteaux de la Loire».
II. SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION
The conference will consist of plenary sessions for invited talks, some parallel sessions for relatively short contributed papers, and posters.
There will be a coffee break in the middle of the morning and afternoon, lunch and dinner will be served at the Chateau.
The preliminary day-to-day programme is as follows (coffee, lunch and dinner have not been explicitly indicated):
Sunday, June 25: arrival in Blois; final registration
Monday, June 26
9h00: Welcome address : J. Tran Thanh Van, Conference Chairman
9h30-11h00: Inaugural talks:
-- Frontiers of Life: where are they?: L. Celnikier (Observatoire de Meudon, France)
-- The NASA Astrobiology Institute: B. Blumberg (NASA, USA)
-- Genetics and genomics: two in one, one in two: P. Slonimski (CGM, France)
-- The origin of genes: W. Gilbert (Harvard, USA)
-- The human genome project : past, present and future: J. Weissenbach (Genoscope, France)
14h30-17h30: Molecular evolution: chairman - C. Wikramasinghe
-- The chemistry of the origin of life: A. Brack (CBM, France)
-- Delivery of extraterrestrial volatiles and biogenic molecules during the period of heavy bombardment: M. Maurette (CSNSM, France)
-- Nitrogen crisis in the early biosphere: possible cause for the development of biological nitrogen fixation: R. Navarro-Gonzales (University of Mexico, Mexico) and C. McKay (NASA, USA)
-- From self-replicating oligonucleotides to self-assembling DNA-nano-objects: G. von Kiedrowski (Bochum, Germany)
-- Artificial life: towards bio-inspired computing machines: D. Mange (EPFL, Switzerland)
From 18h00: Guided visit of the Château de Blois
Tuesday, June 27
9h00-10h30: Genetics and proteomics: chairman - M. Jacquet
-- Origin and evolution of the triplet code: E. Trifonov (Weizmann Institute, Israel)
-- Evolution of evolvability: F. Taddei, M. Radman (Necker, France)
-- Mining the human genome using proteomics: R. Townsend (GlycoSciences, UK)
11h00-12h30:Terrestrial life as the reference: chairman - G. Horneck
-- The earliest fossil evidence of life: W. Schopf (UCLA, USA)
-- Archean life and its environment as recorded by stable isotopes: F. Robert (Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France
-- Genomic properties common to nowadays living organisms provide clues to biochemical properties of LUCA, the last unicellular common ancestor: C.-A. Roten, D. Karamata (Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland)
-- The search for the last common ancestor: reading the molecular evidence: A. Lazcano (UNAM, Mexico)
Afternoon - excursion, probably to the Château de Chenonceau and/or Clos Luce
Wednesday, June 28:
9h00-12h00: Extremophiles: chairman - A. Lazcano
-- Origin and evolution of organisms living at temperatures near the boiling point of water: P. Forterre (IGM, France)
-- Life at the extremes in stratified communities: C. Cockell (British Antarctic Survey, UK)
-- Low-temperature environments: a cradle or a challenge?: N. Glansdorff (ULB, Belgium)
-- Strategies of life to cope with intense environmental radiation: G. Horneck (DLR, Germany)
14h00-17h00: parallel sessions (preliminary programme, subject to revision)
1. Evolution and maintenance of life in extreme environments, and the search for extraterrestrial life
chairman - C. Chyba
2. Planetary and cosmic organic chemistry: chairman - A. Brack
3. Origins of life: chairman - W. Schopf
Posters: these will be put up at the beginning of the conference and will remain posted throughout the week; please note that poster size may have to be limited to 80cm X 100cm, and that you should bring your own pins and sticky tape
20h30: Public talk (in French): "Gènes et esprit": Axel Kahn (INSERM, France); the talk will take place at:
the Palais des Congrès, Place de la République, 41000 BLOIS.
Thursday, June 29:
9h00-12h30: Life beyond the Earth: chairman - B. Blumberg
-- Interstellar organic chemistry and the origin of life: P. Ehrenfreund (Leiden Observatory, Netherlands)
-- Extraterrestrial chirality: J. Bailey (Anglo-Australian Observatory, Australia)
-- Prospects for life on Europa: C. Chyba (SETI Institute, USA)
-- Remote sensing of life on distant planets: A. Penny (RAL, UK)
-- Panspermia revisited: C. Wikramasinghe and F. Hoyle (University of Cardiff, UK)
14h00-17h00: General matters relating to life in the Universe: chairman - F. Drake
-- The continuing search for extrasolar planets: M. Mayor (Switzerland)
-- Permafrost frontiers of life: David A. Gilichinsky (Institute for Physical-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science, Russia)
-- Exobiology with ESA science missions: B.H. Foing (ESA, NL)
-- Habitable zones in our galaxy: G. Benford (U. of California, USA)
Evening: conference banquet in the Château de Chambord
Friday, June 30:
9h00-12h00: Genetics Applications: chairman - W. Gilbert
-- Gene therapy: O. Danos (Généthon, France)
-- Chemical reprogramming of living organisms for applied and fundamental purposes: P. Marliere (Virtual Genomes, France)
-- Bionic technology in genetic engineering and cellular medicine: B. Rubinsky (Berkeley, USA)
14h00-17h00: Information in biology: chairman - C. Jones
-- Complexity, Hierarchicity and Dynamics: V. Avetisov (Semenov Institute, Russia)
-- Deep data sets in biology--a two-edged sword: S. Spengler (Berkeley, USA)
-- Doctor in a cell: Logical design for an intra-cellular molecular computer: E. Shapiro (Weizmann Institute, Israel)
-- The physics of pattern matching in bioinformatics: T. Hwa (UCSD, USA)
Saturday, July 1
Morning: "Wind-up" talks
-- J. Beckman (Genethon, France)
-- F. Drake (SETI Institute, USA)
-- Afternoon: departure
Participants wishing to present their work orally in a parallel session should refer to the abstract submission form on this site. Please use this form to enable the programme committee to program the parallel sessions efficiently, since the time available for parallel sessions is severely restricted; you should indicate the time your contribution will take, but be aware that you may be required to shorten it.
Participants wishing to make a poster contribution should also fill in the electronic abstract submission form.
1. Welcome and registration
Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon, June 25th. Registration at the conference office in the Château de Blois will start at 15:00 on Sunday, June 25th. A welcome cocktail will be offered to the participants and their families at 19:00. It will be followed by dinner.
2. Conference schedule
The conference will start on Monday, June 26th at 9:00 and will end at 12:00 on Saturday, July 1st.
The conference room will be located at the Château Royal de Blois.
3. Conference facilities
The following equipment will be available : a slide projector for 5 cm x 5 cm slides and an overhead-projector for transparencies.
4. Copies of transparencies
Speakers are requested to bring a good photocopy of their talk with them. This copy will be kept for display.
In order to make transparencies of the conference available on the web, speakers who have their talks in file format (Powerpoint, PDS, Postscript, HTML70;) are invited to send them by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The proceedings will be edited and published. Participants will receive a copy of the proceedings at no extra charge.
Deadline for submitting the manuscript: September 30, 2000.
Instructions for submitting the manuscripts will be distributed at the conference; please be aware that we will require the manuscripts to be in the form of ASCII files (Mac or PC) using the LATEX typesetting convention. No other format or support will be accepted.
6. Registration fee
If you wish to participate in the conference, you should register as soon as possible using the on-line registration form which is on this web site.
The registration fee will amount to FF 1900.
Payment of the registration fee can be made:
- by personal check in French francs or euros drawn on a French Bank only to the order of Rencontres de Blois, sent to the conference secretariat (if you wish, but prepayment is not obligatory) or on arrival at the conference. To avoid ruinous bank fees which are beyond our control, we will accept neither foreign currency personal cheques, nor indeed any personal cheques drawn on a non-French bank.
- by traveller's checks in French francs, euros or US dollars on arrival at the conference.
- prepayment (if you wish, but this is not obligatory) by bank transfer (remember to add FF150 for bank fees if transferring from outside France) to the following account:
RENCONTRES DE BLOIS - Banque Regionale de l'Ouest - Blois, France
Bank Code 10528 Branch n° 00001 Account n° 01 002 57834G Key 38
It will take one month for our account to be credited, so please have the bank transfer made before May 20.
In any case, bring proof of the transfer and give it to the conference secretariat during registration in Blois.
Please note that as an educational organization we unfortunately cannot accept Credit Card payment.
Hotel accommodation will be available in 3 categories :
one star (*), two stars (**) and three stars (***), all rooms having either a shower or a bath.
Please fill in the hotel reservation form (on this web site) and dispatch it as soon as possible to:
Palais des Congrès, Place de la République, 41 000 Blois, France.
Since the Palais is not currently organized to handle electronic mail on any large scale, you will unfortunately have to print out the form which is on our web site, and either fax it (preferably) or send it by post.
Please be aware that from this year the conference secretariat is not responsible for hotel bookings; the Palais des Congrès has agreed to do this, and you should always contact them for any questions relating to your accommodation.
The hotel bill will be paid directly to the hotels, most of which accept credit cards.
In order to save you the inconvenience of sending individual deposits for hotel reservations, the conference has made a block deposit to the hotels on behalf of the participants.
However, in return, we request that if you must cancel your attendance after having obtained a hotel reservation, please inform the Palais des Congrès of your cancellation before June 5th , 2000 so that we may recover the deposit.
In order to enhance the interactions and exchanges between participants, all participants are requested to have lunch and dinner together. The conference has asked a caterer to serve lunch and dinner in the Château Royal de Blois.
The package cost for 6 days is 1500FF and will be paid to the caterer on the conference site in French francs (cash) or by cheque drawn on a French bank only ; it cannot be reduced for partial attendance.
The conference banquet will take place on Thursday, June 29, at the Chateau de Chambord, one of the most prestigious and remarkable châteaux in France.
Young scientists (up to 35 years old) who are citizens of a European Union member state, or citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Israel are eligible for partial accommodation support; however, the number of these scholarships is limited.
Please send your application before April 30, 2000 to:
|J. Tran Thanh Van|
|RENCONTRES DE BLOIS|
|Universite de Paris-Sud|
|LPT, Bat. 211|
|91405 Orsay Cedex, France|
|Fax: (33) 1 69 15 82 87|
An appropriate application form can be found on this web site; since it must be signed by the young reserarcher and his director, it must be faxed or sent by post, not submitted electronically.
Finally, citizens of other countries, especially citizens of Eastern European countries, requiring financial support should write to J. Tran Thanh Van as soon as possible. Note that in these cases, although other restrictions may apply, there is no age limit. If you are in any doubt as to your eligibility or the conditions, please contact MORIOND@QCD.TH.U-PSUD.FR
Several social activities are planned during the conference for participants, their families and guests : visits of the Châteaux of Blois , Chambord and Chenonceau, and a "Son et Lumiere" show at the Chateau de Blois. An additional program for the accompanying persons (cost not included in the above) will be organized in collaboration with the tourist office of Blois.
The most convenient way to reach Blois is to arrive in Paris and take a train (SNCF) from Austerlitz railway station to Blois.The following train schedule (just a few particularly convenient trains are indicated) is in principle valid for this year. Nevertheless, you would be advised to check with your travel agency.
|Sunday, June 25, 2000||Saturday, July 1, 2000|
|Arrival in Blois||Departure from Blois||Arrival in Paris Austerlitz|
|11 h 38||13 h 37||11 h 47||13 h 48|
|13 h 44||15 h 39||15 h 39||17 h 43|
|17 h 00||18 h 59||17 h 29||19 h 02|
Blois can easily be reached by car. Take the exit "Blois" on the Motorway ("autoroute'') A10 connecting Paris to the Chateaux de la Loire area (about 2 hours drive). Follow the signs "Centre".
ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: MAY 31, 2000