What is Life?

July 31, 2011
(was 11.21.2010)

Science and the Search for Meaning: Five Questions, Part One: What is Life?

Scientists can now explain virtually every stage of the evolutionary process.  But there’s a basic question that still mystifies even the best scientists: How did life first begin on Earth?  Or to put in another way, how did non-life somehow turn into life?  And can we say the Earth itself is alive?  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll talk with James Lovelock about his Gaia theory, and explore the question, What is Life?

  1. Craig Venter on Creating Life

    Craig Venter, who's come as close as anyone has to creating life in a test tube, tells Steve Paulson what drives him.

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    Average: 3.3 (15 votes)
  2. Nita Sahai on How Life First Began

    How did non-life become life? University of Wisconsin geochemist Nita Sahai talks with Anne Strainchamps about how life might have begun on Earth.

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    Average: 4.7 (9 votes)
  3. James Lovelock on the Gaia Hypothesis

    Maybe the Earth itself is alive. That’s the remarkable idea behind the Gaia hypothesis.

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    Average: 4.8 (10 votes)
  4. Kevin Kelly on “What Technology Wants”

    Kevin Kelly tells Jim Fleming that the sum total of our technology - what he calls “the technicum” - is taking on the properties of life itself.

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    Average: 4.6 (8 votes)
  5. Tom Boellstorff on Second Life

    Anthropologist Tom Boellstorff takes us on a tour through the virtual world of Second Life.

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    Average: 4.3 (8 votes)
  6. Paul Davies on "The Eerie Silence"

    What will extraterrestrial life look like? Paul Davies thinks it might be stranger than you can imagine.

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    Average: 3.6 (12 votes)