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origins of life

Illustration: life as a computation efficiently storing & using predictive info
information theory

How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder

January 26, 2017

Life was long thought to obey its own set of rules. But as simple systems show signs of lifelike behavior, scientists are arguing about whether this apparent complexity is all a consequence of thermodynamics.

Photo of raindrops on a window by Philip Kraaijenbrink
Abstractions blog

Droplets That ‘Come to Life’

January 20, 2017

Life might have originated in droplets that behave surprisingly like living cells.

Illustration: Dividing Droplets
biophysics

Dividing Droplets Could Explain Life’s Origin

January 19, 2017

Researchers have discovered that simple “chemically active” droplets grow to the size of cells and spontaneously divide, suggesting they might have evolved into the first living cells.

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Time Through an LCD Display’

September 30, 2016

Insights about time’s arrow from a liquid crystal universe.

insights puzzle

Seeing Time Through a Liquid Crystal Display

September 13, 2016

What insights can an LCD display give us about time’s arrow?

Abstractions blog

A New Step in Re-Creating First Life on Earth

August 25, 2016

An RNA molecule that can make copies of a variety of RNAs adds new support to the RNA-world theory.

Abstractions blog

Faster Evolution on a Warmer Earth

July 12, 2016

When life first emerged roughly 4 billion years ago, DNA may have been a much more malleable molecule.

Abstractions blog

Interstellar Find Adds Life to Old Debate

June 20, 2016

Figuring out how these molecules form in the deep recesses of interstellar space might illuminate the origins of one of life’s distinguishing features.

Q&A

In Warm, Greasy Puddles, the Spark of Life?

March 17, 2016

The biologist David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules, probably in a pool in the shadow of a volcano.