Astrochemistry Lectures

Updated June 1

The lectures on Astrochemistry by Prof. Dr. E.F. van Dishoeck will start on Tuesday May 24, 2022. This 3 EC course is aimed at MSc students, as well as starting PhD students. The course will be given in English; other interested students or postdocs are welcome to attend. It will be given as a block between May 24 and June 9 (see Schedule for more details). The next opportunity to take this course will be at least 2 years from now.

On these pages information, recommended as well as further literature and interesting links related to that course can be found, including copies of the lecture notes as they come along. They will be maintained and updated regularly. If you have any questions or suggestions to these pages please contact Pooneh Nazari ( or Margot Leemker (

There will be two (volutary) lab tours: one on May 31 at 16:00 and one on June 7 at 16:00. The lab tour will take approx. 30-40 mins.

Oral exam:

You can now sign up for the oral exam here. All slots are set at 30 min, but for those giving a talk the length will be only 15 min. Some minor time adjustments may be made once everyone has signed up to eliminate gaps on a certain day. The oral exam will be in person in room 505, except for June 15-16 when it will be by zoom. You can find some example questions here: Astrochem Tentamen examples 2022.

  • The exam is oral and lasts for about 25 minutes (except if you gave a talk, then max 15 min). In addition to myself, either a TA and/or a postdoc will be present.
  • The oral exam will only be on the material that is covered in the slides, not on any of the papers that have been linked to the course.
  • Example questions have been posted. As a further example, you are certainly not expected to memorize the entire carbon chemistry network, but you should be able to give the key initiating reactions or bottlenecks in that diagram.
  • We expect students to follow the honor system, i.e., to not discuss exam questions with fellow students after you have done your exam.
  • Course description:

    The space between the stars is not empty but filled with a very dilute gas with extremely low densities and temperatures, providing a unique laboratory with conditions not normally encountered on Earth. A surprisingly rich chemistry occurs in these so-called interstellar clouds, as evidenced by the discovery of nearly 150 different molecules. Some of these species were found in space before they were identified in a laboratory on Earth. How are these molecules formed? Where are they found and how do astronomers identify them? How do their abundances differ from place to place and what does this tell us about the structure of the region? How do the abundances evolve from cold clouds to planet-forming disks and comets, where they can form the basis for prebiotic species?