BlueSciCon Episode 42: Temperature oscillations near natural nuclear reactor cores and the potential for prebiotic oligomer synthesis

Dr. Zach Adam Listen: [mp3 download] Questions to consider: What are natural nuclear reactors? What planetary conditions allow natural nuclear reactors to occur? What is so special about natural nuclear reactors with respect to the origins of life? There are already lots of theories about geological/atmospheric settings for origins of life, why do we need another one and how is it different? How is the energy of a reactor different from the energy of, say, lightning bolts or UV radiation? […]

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BlueSciCon Episode 41: Genomes, the fossil record and more: Accessing the artifacts of Earth’s earliest evolutionary history

Dr. Betul Kacar Listen: [mp3 download] Questions to consider: What is experimental evolution? How do living microorganisms help us to better understand the fossil record? What is involved in “reconstructing” a genome? How do we understand the connection between protein functions and organism behavior? [ca_audio url=”http://beerwith.bmsis.org/BlueSciCon_41_SEP2015.mp3″ width=”500″ height=”27″ css_class=”codeart-google-mp3-player”]

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Re-conceptualizing the Origin of Life

Understanding the origin of life remains an elusive quest of astrobiology, and uniting the approaches of physics, chemistry, and biology remains one of the challenges of this interdisciplinary field. Dr. Sara Walker is part of the science organizing committee for the Carnegie science workshop titled “Re-conceptualizing the Origin of Life“, to be held November 9-13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Abstracts are due August 1st, and attendance is limited to 100 participants. [visit the conference website for Re-conceptualizing the Origin of […]

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Laurie Barge Discusses Self-Organizing Systems

Dr. Laurie Barge recently discussed her research on self-organizing processes at the University of Washington astrobiology seminar. Processes that tend toward self-organization are of interest to astrobiologists like Dr. Barge, who seek to understand conditions that could have led to the origin of life in Earth’s early history. Dr. Barge’s research focuses on understanding the chemical environments that exist in seafloor hydrothermal systems, where out-of-equilibrium conditions could have provided the right mix of ingredients for life to begin. [watch a […]

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Podcast: The Descent of Math

Our “BlueSciCon” podcast for April features a conversation with Dr. Sara Walker about her recent essay titled “The Descent of Math“. Scientists and philosophers have often remarked that it seems incredible that we are able to understand the universe at all. Our civilization’s ability to manipulate the physical environment has allowed us to create possibilities that were never before seen in history. In her essay for FQXi’s current contest, Dr. Walker discusses the possibility that evolutionary processes tend toward producing […]

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