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August 12, 2020 66 min

One of the defining characteristics of complex systems science is the shift in emphasis from objects to relationships and processes. How is information related to matter and energy, and how do the distinct formulations of different scientific lineages braid together in a unifying pattern? This search for a more fundamental understanding drives directly into some of the biggest questions science has to ask about the living world — namely, what is life, what is alive, and when did life begin? The Santa Fe Institute has drawn from the deep wells of these questions since the 1980s. In our second episode, Complexity Podcast dove in to explore the origins of life, but even that in-depth conversation left a lot unsaid.

Welcome to Complexity, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield. While we continue our short summer hiatus, here’s a superb interview with the Santa Fe Institute’s newly announced External Professor, Sara Imari Walker of Arizona State University, by Marty Martin and Art Woods, the hosts of the Big Biology Podcast. In this rapid-fire rap from their ninth episode, Sara talks about how physics — and in particular information theory — refocuses the lens through which researchers ask about the nature of living systems and look for signs of life elsewhere in the cosmos. We hope that you enjoy and — after subscribing to Complexity and Big Biology wherever you go for podcasts — follow up with their equally illuminating conversation with SFI External Professor Andy Dobson on disease ecology.

Visit our website for more information or to support our science and communication efforts.

Sara Walker’s Website

Sara Walker's Google Scholar Page

Complexity Podcast Episode 2 on The Origins of Life at InterPlanetary Festival

Big Biology Podcast Website

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Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.

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