"Bioastronomy: Search for Extraterrestrial Life" was established as Commission 51 of the IAU in 1982. The objectives of the commission include: The search for planets around other stars; The search for radio transmissions, intentional or unintentional, of extraterrestrial origin; The search for biologically relevant interstellar molecules and the study of their formation processes; Detection methods for potential spectroscopic evidence of biological activity; The coordination of efforts in all these areas at the international level and the establishment of collaborative programs with other international scientific societies with related interests. In 2006, Commission 51 was renamed simply "Bioastronomy" at the IAU General Assembly in Prague, and approved for the next six years. For a report on the C51 business meeting at the Prague IAU, please click on the image below.

Bioastronomy at the IAU General Assembly

The Business Meeting of C51 on Bioastronomy was held at the IAU General Assembly, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday, August 12, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm, in Room 5 of the Convention Center SulAmerica. Presentations were given about the plans for the first joint meeting with ISSOL in 2011 (see below) in Montpellier, France, and about the previous Bioastronomy meeting, held in 2007 in Puerto Rico (see below). Please click on the image below to see the report of the Business Meeting.

Bioastronomy 2011 Meeting

The next meeting of Commission 51 will be held jointly with the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life: The International Astrobiology Society (ISSOL) in Montpellier, France, on July 3-8, 2011. Janet Siefert, president of ISSOL, and C51 look forward to this experiment in uniting two major segments of the international astrobiology community. Please plan on attending this first joint meeting. For a link to the meeting web site (still under construction), please click on the image below.

Bioastronomy 2007 Meeting

One of the main activities of Commission 51 is to organize a Bioastronomy meeting every three years. The 2007 meeting was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from July 16-20, 2007. For a link to the meeting web site, please click on the image below.

Commission 51: Bioastronomy Officers (2009-12)

President: William Irvine (United States)

Vice President: Pascale Ehrenfreund (Netherlands)

Past President: Alan Boss (United States)



Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd (France)

Sun Kwok (Hong Kong)

David Morrison (United States)

Stephane Udry (Switzerland)

Cristiano Cosmovici (Italy)

Commission 51: Bioastronomy Officers (2006-09)

President: Alan Boss

Vice President: William Irvine

Past President: Karen Meech

Members of Organizing Committee (and year in which term began)

Commission 51: Bioastronomy Officers (2006-09)




Any IAU member who is interested in becoming a member of Commission 51 should write or e-mail the President of the Commission with a brief note regarding his/her interest in the work of the Commission.

The applicant will be provisionally accepted for membership and will thereafter be sent all communications. The application will be forwarded to the Organizing Committee and formal approval of the application will be made at the Commission business meeting at the following IAU General Assembly.

Applications for membership in the IAU are invited about a year before each General Assembly (the next General Assembly is in 2012), through the national Adhering Organizations. In the US, application forms are provided in the AAS Newsletter. Normally, minimum requirements are a Ph.D. plus 2-3 years experience in astronomical research resulting in a few publications in refereed journals, but it is up to the US National Committee to prioritize the applications they receive before making their proposals for membership to the IAU.

The IAU Secretariat's mailing (and e-mail) address is:


Institut d'Astrophysique

98bis, bd. Arago

F-75014 Paris (France)

Tel: (33) 143258358

Fax: (33) 143252616

E-mail: iau@iap.fr.

IAU homepage: http://www.iau.org

Last updated: 18 August 2009