Interdisciplinary lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.
In this lecture, Gerald Joyce focuses on the perpetuation of genetic information as a defining characteristic of life. He draws a connection between digital computers (von Neumann machines), especially those with the capacity to self-reproduce, and molecular Darwinian systems that maintain heritable ‘bits’ of information, which are refined through evolution.
New evidence of exoplanets reveals a higher-than-expected occurrence of potentially habitable worlds in our galactic neighborhood. What does this evidence tell us about life on other planets? How can we search for signs of life on other planets?
L. Mahadevan will explain how a combination of biological and physical experiments, together with mathematical models and computations, begin to unravel the physical basis for morphogenesis. He will go on to explore how these pan-disciplinary problems enrich the origins of this topic, creating new questions in mathematics, physics and biology.
No one knows when life first colonized planet Earth, nor if or when Mars ever supported life. We see numerous, unequivocal lines of evidence for life on Earth from some 3.5 billion years ago to the present day. But the further back in time we look, the more clues about our earliest ancestors are clouded by doubts, uncertainties and controversies.
In this talk, Terry Hwa will explore the opportunities that exist at this new frontier using several examples at the molecular, cellular and population levels.