What is life? (Spoiler alert: nobody knows)

Life… the final frontier…


“Just as the colors of a rainbow merge imperceptibly one into another, the transition to life from nonlife is a seamless continuum”

                                                J.W. Schopf

I teach a variety of classes at my university, General Biology for science majors, my own Pharmacology course for undergraduates and from time to time I also teach graduate courses in my own area (Biochemical Pharmacology and Neurobiology) among others.

However, one of my favorite courses is one that I teach with a physicist colleague: “The origins of Life and the Universe”.  I have no idea why the course was named like that, it was before my time.  Informally, we call it the Astrobiology course.

Our Astrobiology course is targeted to non-science majors; we get people from all over the university (History, Education, Art, etc.).  We enjoy the course in part because it gives us the opportunity to “talk science” to people who in all…

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