Foundations of Life

Where do we come from? What is the world made from? What constitutes a living thing? To answer these questions, we use cutting-edge equipment and scientific methods to study the universe and the structure of matter.

Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, obtained with the ESO Schmidt Telescope.

We also investigate the fundamental mechanisms of life – from the Big Bang to the emergence of the first molecules through to cells and complete organisms. We use astrophysics and particle physics to explore the fundamental forces and structures that shaped the universe and how its galaxies, stars and planets evolved. Our goal is to clarify how our Earth and life on it came into being and whether there is life elsewhere in the universe.

We delve deep into cells and organisms to study the functions of biomolecules, how they move, change, and interact with each other, and how they affect cellular and cell-like systems. State-of-the-art methods enable us to draw important conclusions about the origins of diseases and the development of new therapies.