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The Debate: The Origin of Life

Monday 3rd April - 06:00 PM BST

The Debate: The Origin of Life

Will we ever know what it is to be alive?

Humans have always marvelled at the wonders of life. But for nearly a century science has had an explanation for the immense variety of life forms on the earth. 

Out of a primordial soup a random combination of chemicals generated the building blocks of life.  Evolution did the rest.  But might this account be fundamentally mistaken?  Despite decades of effort, biologists and biochemists have been unable to evolve living things from inorganic material.  The emergence of the first cell and the development of complex life remain a mystery.   

Might the origin of life perhaps never be uncovered by biologists?  Is the failure to explain the origin of life a fundamental threat to the whole evolutionary story?  Or might we be able at some point to demonstrate the evolution of cells from inorganic material and the subsequent development of complex life forms, and if so where might this solution be found?  


17:00 BST - Patent on Life DokboxCinema

17:15 BST - The Opening Interview: Life On Other Worlds The Lounge

18:00 BST - The Debate: The Origin of Life arena

19:00 BST - Antarctica: The Game on Ice DokboxCinema

19:20 BST - The Solo Talk: The Chemicals of Being arena

19:30 BST - Polly Paulusma stage

Marina Cortês

Marina Cortês is a pioneering astrophysicist based at the University of Lisbon who challenges conventional notions of time. She is the founder of Biocosmology, a new scientific field that allows us to see life through the lens of black holes, dark energy, and dark matter.

Johnjoe McFadden

Johnjoe McFadden is a British molecular biologist working at the University of Surrey. McFadden is the author of Quantum Evolution, which offers a novel evolutionary mechanism beyond the neo-Darwinian paradigm.

Alex Rosenberg

Alexander Rosenberg is a philosopher at Duke University and co-director of the Duke Center for the Philosophy of Biology. He is known for his defence of scientism and metaphysical naturalism, arguing that science is powerful enough to address the big questions of philosophy.

Sara Walker

Sara Walker is a theoretical physicist and astrobiologist. Her fascinating insights into the origins of life, astrobiology, physics of life has les to her being featured on TED as well as the acclaimed Lex Fridman Podcast in recent years.