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Looking for the Laws of Life

Sunday, June 1, 2008
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Life. Some scientists are searching the cosmos for habitable cradles of it, others are combing Earth for exotic forms of it, while others still are on the verge of creating it in the lab. The forms life could take seem endless — at least in theory. But are there universal laws of life, much like the fundamental laws of physics, which govern or limit the characteristics that make it — in any form — possible? Our audience joined John Hockenberry for a vibrant discussion with leading astrobiologists Paul Davies, Steven Benner and Maggie Turnbull as they looked at life through the lens of chemistry and physics in search of life as we don’t know it.

Image © Roxana González | Dreamstime.com


John HockenberryJournalist

Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.

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Paul DaviesPhysicist, Cosmologist, Astrobiologist

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and best-selling author. He is Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University, where he is Director of Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

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Steven BennerSynthetic Biologist

Steven Benner is one of the pioneers of synthetic biology, which seeks to create artificial living systems. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Florida and a founder of the Westheimer Institute for Science.

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Maggie TurnbullAstrobiologist

Margaret Turnbull leads the science team of the NASA New Worlds Observer mission looking for Earth-like planets and signs of alien life. She is an astrobiologist at the Global Science Institute in Wisconsin.

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