We look forward to hosting a virtual talk by Carl Zimmer, renowened science writer and author of the “Matter” column at The New York Times. His latest book, Life’s Edge: The Search for What it Means to be Alive, will be the subject of this talk.
In 1708, the chemist Georg Ernst Stahl posed a question. “Above all else, consequently, it comes down to this–to know, what is life?”
In 2018, the biologists Francis Westall and André Brack took stock of what science had learned over the intervening three centuries: “It is commonly said that there as many definitions of life as there are people trying to define it.”
In Life’s Edge, Carl Zimmer explores the nature of life and investigates why scientists have struggled to draw its boundaries. He handles pythons, goes spelunking to visit hibernating bats, and even tries his hand at evolution. Zimmer visits scientists making miniature human brains to ask when life begins, and follows a voyage that delivered microscopic animals to the moon, where they now exist in a state between life and death. From the coronavirus to consciousness, Zimmer demonstrates that biology, for all its advances, has yet to achieve its greatest triumph: a full theory of life.