November 30, 2012

Solving the Puzzle of Life

Last week, I stumbled upon an idea called The Constructal Law (for an overview, see this PDF) and I am browsing through the book 'Design in Nature' by A. Bejan and J.P. Zane. Almost immediately I felt something click as I continued to read it. Some concepts in that book resonate with bits of ideas that have already crossed my mind in the past. This book has wasted no time in explaining the new concepts clearly.

Parts of the Constructal Law will have something to do with how we should think about exolife, too. It hasn't done that yet, but the time will come.

We are currently in the age of mashups, integrations, collaboration, and new ways of thinking about the questions and mysteries that confront us. In the context of this blog, some of these questions are timeless, and some are up-to-date with our current stage of discovery: What is Life? What are the patterns that we should look for in order to detect signs of life on alien environments? Will our earth-centric definition of "Life" change once we discover life on other planets?

Indeed, these questions require us to think beyond the limits of any particular field of science. We cannot hinge solely upon Astrobiology or Exobiology to define exolife and ignore other fields of thought. We also cannot limit our minds to think about life only in terms of computation, complexity theory, or emergence (think Wolfram's New Kind of Science, NKS), nor should we think about life only in terms of physics. We need scientists and thinkers in every field to collaborate and mash up ideas. If you still don't get my gist, please read this post. I have been lapse in blogging for a while about unorthodox ways of thinking about life, and i hope to post more about this interdisciplinary aspect of answering questions about exolife, especially on how exoplanets contribute vital clues to solve this exciting puzzle.

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