University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Physics and Astronomy Colloquia  > An Approach to Identifying Molecular Aliens & Making Life in the Laboratory

An Approach to Identifying Molecular Aliens & Making Life in the Laboratory

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Amaury Triaud.

The search for evidence of life elsewhere in the universe has relied upon data collected from probes in our solar system, or astronomical observations. Equally, the quest to make life in the lab is confused by the eternal argument centering around a working definition for life. Knowing what signatures can be assigned to living systems is difficult as alien life has never been seen before. A solution would be to identify a feature exclusively associated with all life, and develop a detection system for that feature that could be used for the search for alien life, and also making life in the lab. We postulate living systems can be distinguished from non-living systems as they produce complex molecules in abundance which cannot form randomly in the absence of biology or technology. In my talk I will present an approach to universal life detection based upon a new theory of molecular complexity called molecular assembly. I will show results attempting to validate this theory on a set of diverse samples from around the world and outer space. I will also show how we are trying to synthesise life forms in the lab using a new programmable chemical robotic system called The Chemputer.

This talk is part of the Physics and Astronomy Colloquia series.

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