Though scientists have yet to find life beyond our own planet, the universe is rife with possibilities. Where to look, and how to recognize it when we find it, are questions physical biologist Chris Kempes explores during this Santa Fe Institute Community Lecture. From the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn to the planets orbiting distant stars, Kempes maps out where in the universe life could evolve its signature complexity. He also discusses how scientists search for life and how some familiar life forms, like trees, might look physiologically different on planets or moons with different environmental conditions.
A biologist and complexity scientist, Chris Kempes is the newest member of SFI’s resident faculty. He recently completed an SFI Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellowship, which he devoted to research on the metabolic limits of life, points in life transitions, and other topics related to astrobiology. Before he came to SFI, Kempes held fellowships at NASA Ames Research Center and Caltech. He has a doctorate in physical biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.