From Origins to Alien Life
Science & Cocktails is proud to present an episode with Sara Walker on "From Origins to Aliens: Understanding Where we Came from, and Finding Others Like Us in the Universe", professor in theoretical physics and astrobiology. Sara will discuss what life is, what is not, and how we can find it in various biological, artificial and alien forms. All this and the music of Black Money Orchestra and the records of Ublu Duo.
What is Life? Is among the deepest and most perplexing questions in modern science. Although our planet is replete with example of things we readily recognize as living, life defies all our attempts to define it. Popular edge cases include viruses and fire.
It is often the case in science that the most stubborn problems are not for lack of answers, but that we are not asking the right question. Instead of attempting to define life based on its properties on Earth, Sara Walker argues that we should be attempting to derive an explanation for the phenomena we call “life” from a new theory of physics. While life does not contradict any of our current laws of physics, it is not explained by them either.
The history of physics has seen stunning progress unifying seemingly disparate phenomenon into explanations that have incredible explanatory reach. An example is how Through Galileo’s experiments of balls rolling down inclined planes, and Newton’s pondering of apples falling downward from trees and the moon falling across our night sky – allowed us to recognize hidden connections we had never made before. This led to the deeper understanding of reality that we call gravity, which unified our understanding of terrestrial and celestial motion in a manner not previously possible in human history. Later, Einstein would unify how we think about space. So much of our reality – all of motion, space and time – unified in a single very abstract kind of understanding of ‘spacetime’.
Will solving life be similar? Can it be done by taking the approach of fundamental physics? Will this allow us to solve the vexed open problem of the origin of life? Or to find alien life?
Sara Walker will discuss ideas at the frontiers of physics about what might be necessary to discover the ‘laws of life’ that could explain not just what life is here on Earth, but anywhere it might exist in the universe. She will discuss radical implications of this new set of ideas, including how life should not be considered as binary (alive or not) but instead as a continuum, ranging from chemistry to technology, and how the new laws of physics might rewrite some of our ideas about what it is to be alive and how we think the universe works. The implications are new proposals to test how matter transitions to life, and new ways to search for alien life beyond Earth.
Event held in English and with the generous support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Sara Imari Walker
Sara Imari Walker is an American theoretical physicist and astrobiologist with research interests in the origins of life, astrobiology, physics of life, emergence, complex and dynamical systems, and artificial life. She is currently Deputy Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, Associate Director of the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems and Associate Professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University as well as External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. She is a co-founder of the astrobiology social network SAGANet.org, and on the board of directors for Blue Marble Space a nonprofit education and science organization. She has appeared on multiple media sources, such as "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman", to communicate science to the public.
Black Money Orchestra
The world is changing. Nigeria in the 70’s was a crucial time and space in the history of music. In the fight for freedom appeared a music that today lifts us up all over the world. The combination of the African and the afro-american tradition opened the gate that we today travel by. Music is still the healing force of the universe. Oh friendly listener, let us go to a timespace where 45 minutes can be anything we want! Band composed of Black Money David Besiakov, Mads Nørgaard, Taus Bregnehøj, Simon Eskildsen, Nikolai Høi, Oscar Alvarez Rifbjerg, Morten Dalhoff, Yohanier Ramon, Mads Egetoft, Erik Kimestad, Mia Dyberg, Rasmus Lund, Kristian Tangvik, Claus Højensgård.
Live act by
David Besiakov and Aage Johnson leave the instruments for a while, to play records in organ-erotic, soul jazz, transcultural, groovy, exotic, Ethiopian and groovy feel.