Research & Activities


EON Workshop on Universal Biology

August 23, 2017 - August 25, 2017

ELSI Hall in ELSI-1 bldg., Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama, Meguroku, Tokyo, Japan

Organizer: Carlos Mariscal, University of Nevada

Please refer to the EON official website (link below)

Universal Biology, or the study of what we can expect would be the case for life everywhere, is an area of interest to a wide variety of researchers in fields as diverse as artificial life, ecology, planetary science, and biochemistry. Experts in myriad fields propose, justify, and assess the most robust expectations for life. This workshop will gather intellectually curious experts working across extremely diverse disciplines in order to develop a common language, assumptions, and categorization schema of non-Earth specific phenomena in biology. We would like to build an ongoing network of international and multidisciplinary scholars working on these issues. By bridging jargon and conceptual barriers, we hope to derive understandings which have been revealed independently through related disciplines. We may even be able to infer new candidate generalizations which may never arise independently of such interactions.

Participants will be asked to give brief overview of their research, detailing lessons these may imply for other biological systems. We will have ample time for discussion and break out groups as well as time for planning ahead to future workshops.

In short, the aim of this workshop will be to develop a common understanding, write or collaborate on articles for a special edition of a journal, and start ongoing collaborations focused on detailing the biological properties scientists strongly believe will apply to life everywhere in the universe, independent of contingent facts about Earth. We will strive to clearly separate conclusions derived from chemistry, mechanics, ecological interaction, evolutionary exchange, modeling, and so on.

Carlos Mariscal (Nevada)
Piet Hut (ELSI/IAS)
Nathaniel Virgo (EON)
Kunihiko Kaneko (UBI)
Chris Kempes (SFI)
Cole Mathis (ASU)

Jennifer Hoyal-Cuthill (EON)
Doug Erwin (Smithsonian Institute)
Pablo Marquet (Pontifico Universidad Catolica de Santiago/SFI)
Paul Turner (Yale)
Hanon McShea (Harvard)
Kate Adamala (Minnesota)
Mike Travisiano (Minnesota)
Lynn Rothschild (Brown/NASA Ames)

Farshid Jafarpour (Purdue)
William Bains (MIT)
Jessica Flack (SFI)
David G. Lynn (HHMI)

Scientific Organising Committee
Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill, Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Cambridge University; Nigel Goldenfeld, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Piet Hut, Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Betül Kaçar, Harvard University; Nathaniel Virgo, Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Mary Voytek, NASA; Sara Walker, Arizona State University