Science & Cocktails: From Origins to Alien Life

Mon Jun 20 2022 at 07:00 pm

DR Koncerthuset | København

DR Koncerthuset
Publisher/HostDR Koncerthuset
Science & Cocktails: 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 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.
More info:
Event held in English and with the generous support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

DR Koncerthuset, Ørestads Boulevard 13, København, Denmark


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