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Top university offers free degree-style course on alien life

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09/24/2012 09:37 AM
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Top university offers free degree-style course on alien life
Edinburgh University will join an elite US higher education consortium in providing free online courses – including one on the search for extraterrestrial life.

Edinburgh University will launch a series of short courses accessible online to the public for free from late 2012, including an opportunity to study an "Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life".
The course, which will be taught by Charles Cockell, a professor of Astrobiology, is one of six being offered as part of the Coursera scheme – a US-run project backed by Stanford and Princeton universities which encourages leading institutions from around the world to make high-calibre courses available globally.
"We took the decision to offer courses that reflect our specific strengths," said Ranald Leask, a spokesman for the university. "Something like extraterrestrial life comes out of a wide and deep base of knowledge and academic endeavour."
"We have one of the world's leading schools of Science and Engineering. You could see this [extraterrestrial life] as a more niche area within Science and Engineering."
Professor Cockell is the author of books including Response of Organisms to the Martian Environment and A Station for the Martian Geographic North Pole, and is Director for the UK Centre for Astrobiology.

Read more [link to www.telegraph.co.uk]