COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life

Relaunch of Complexity Podcast Trailer

Episode Summary

Trailer for Complexity: Physics of Life, from the Santa Fe Institute

Episode Transcription

Abha Eli Phoboo: If you were to go to a children’s museum, you’d probably notice that things there are organized a little differently than what we, as adults, are used to. You could have a space to learn about the water cycle right next to a space to paint and create. It wouldn’t be odd to learn about stars and dinosaurs and colors all in the same visit. This is because, when kids look at the world, it all starts with one thing: curiosity.

Chris Kempes: Now, as we get older, that curiosity gets split up. We create categories: art, history, math, science. And eventually, science becomes physics, chemistry, and biology. The higher you go and the more you specialize, the narrower it gets. If you want to work with dinosaur fossils, you’re probably not going to study astrophysics too. But… what if you did?

Vijay Balasubramanian: I don't really recognize a distinction between physics and necessarily the other sciences. I think we should be careful about that.

Abha: What if science, like in a children’s museum, had no disciplinary boundaries? Could we use the laws of physics and the universe to understand how plants and animals evolve?

Ricard Solé: There are fundamental laws that actually constrain the complexity of life.

Chris: In this new season of Complexity, The Physics of Life, this is exactly what we’ll do. We’ll explore the structures that connect us all — in six episodes.

Ricard: The specific solutions to particular problems, like the way brains are wired or the way our eyes are structured, have been found again and again independently all over the history of evolution.

Abha: We’ll learn about why we sleep.

Geoffrey West: Sleep is like death, or maybe one can console oneself at my age that death is like sleep.

Chris: We’ll ask the big questions about how life originated.

Heather Graham: But we don't know if life has arisen in other forms in other places on our planet and just simply not persisted.

Abha: And we’ll explore the possibility of life on other planets.

Heather: It's a world hurtling around one of the many stars we see in the sky that's just unimaginable.

Chris: I’m Chris Kempes, professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

Abha: And I’m Abha Eli Phoboo, director of communications at the Santa Fe Institute.

Chris: Join us on January 31st, wherever you get your podcasts.