What is life? Bridging the disciplines to solve unanswered questions


For generations, scientists have struggled to make sense of the fundamental question: ‘what is life?’ Even a humble bacterium accomplishes things so dazzling that no human engineer can match it, and huge advances in molecular biology over the past few decades have served only to deepen the mystery. So, can life be explained by known physics and chemistry, or do we need something fundamentally new? In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud discusses these thought-provoking questions with renowned physicist Professor Paul Davies – author of the 2019 book ‘The Demon in the Machine’.


Date published: 5 November 2020

Presenter: Dr Raj Persaud

Interviewee: Professor Paul Davies

Audio running time: 50 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • the limitations of physics, chemistry and biology when it comes to explaining the origins of life


  • the structural paradox of DNA


  • the relationship between the science of physics and the science of biology


  • the importance of bridging the scientific disciplines in order to answer the most meaningful questions.



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