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”.
Nikola Tesla was one of the most dynamic and controversial figures in the history of electricity and science. His significant contributions in the use of Alternating Current, radio and radio-controlled devices have often been ignored by the history books. Yet others worship him as the counter-culture father of free energy and a man who communicated with extraterrestrials. David Bowie even played him in a film. What is the truth about Tesla and his inventions? My guest tonight is W. BERNARD CARLSON, Professor of Science, technology and Society in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His new dynamic and thorough biography is TESLA: INVENTOR OF THE ELECTRICAL AGE and it is the first book to portray Tesla in all his brilliance and folly.