Building Life From Scratch

Main Stage

June 15th, 2019 from 4:10pm to 4:55pm

The origin of life on Earth remains a hotly contested question among scientists. Maybe life began in the depths of the ocean, or with an electric spark, or in a small pond that repeatedly dried. Perhaps the answer to this question will be found through our understanding of the role that RNA played in the evolution of early life, or maybe there are myriad ways for life to start.

Figuring out the source of all life on our own planet is tricky enough, but scientists are also setting their sights on the possibility of the existence of life in space. In this case, we don’t mean Laika the dog orbiting Earth or human volunteers one day colonizing Mars, but life forms that originated and organized their own way of life on other planets. While we might not yet know if life exists outside of own biosphere or solar system, in order to discover and identify other living beings in the universe, we must first understand how life itself originates.

The Building Life from Scratch panel discussion will feature biologist Chris Kempes, journalist Alexandra Witze, botanist David Baum, and chemist Kate Adamala, who will address one approach to the origins of life question: building new and different types of life from scratch.