This past Sunday I was asked to give an opening lecture at an international conference on astrobiology, linking cosmology to the emergence of life on Earth and other planetary platforms. We, and any other alien creature that might exist, are products of the same laws of physics and chemistry that operate across the cosmos.
At its most basic level, life is a set of self-sustaining chemical reactions capable of metabolizing energy and, crucially, of reproducing according to Darwinian evolution.
So, living creatures are self-organizing bundles of molecules capable of creating copies of themselves. Since molecules are made of atoms and atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, living creatures need, as their most basic ingredients, the particles of matter that fill the cosmos.
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