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David Toomey: WEIRD LIFE

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 8:30am

You may think you know a definition of life, but you would be wrong. Many biologists and scientists are struggling to come up with a theory of life that we can test. In recent decades bacteria have been discovered living in hot springs in temperatures high enough to cook all other life. Life has now been found living in sulphur springs, in caustic soda lakes, deep in the earth’s crust and even in the salt lakes. All places we thought life could never exist. But these extremophile forms of life are only the beginning. Supposed there is life not based on the Carbon atom? Could there be Silicon life? Or could there be life that uses Arsenic? Is it possible there is life that lives in hydrogen fluoride or sulphuric acid or ammonia? The answers may surprise you. Tonight we talk with DAVID TOOMEY, associate professor of English and the Director of the Professional Writing and Technical Communication Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His new book WEIRD LIFE: THE SEARCH FOR LIFE THAT IS VERY, VERY DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN will change the way you think about “life”.  

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