Upcoming Conference on
“Re-conceptualizing the Origin of Life”
Nov. 9-13th, 2015 at Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington D.C.
Physics and chemistry have arrived at a deep understanding of the non-living world. Can we expect to reach similar insights, integrating concepts and quantitative explanation, in biology? Life at its origin should be particularly amenable to discovery of scientific laws governing biology, since it marks the point of departure from a predictable physical/chemical world to the novel and history-dependent living world. The origin of life problem is difficult because even the simplest living cell is highly evolved from the first steps toward life, of which little direct evidence remains. This conference aims to explore ways to build a deeper understanding of the nature of biology, by focusing on modeling the origins of life on a sufficiently abstract level. The conference will cover a diverse range of topics bearing on the problem of solving life’s origins, starting from prebiotic conditions on Earth and possibly on other planets and moving up through the hierarchy of structure in biology all the way to social complexity. The focus is therefore on studying the origin of life as part of a larger concern with the origins of organization, including major transitions in the living state and structure formation in complex systems science.
Each day of the conference is organized around a different integrative theme, kicked off by an invited keynote presentation. Themes include: information in the living world, the origin of organization, the self in the world, re-conceptualizing the nature of the living state, and an integrated view of the origin and organization of the biosphere. Keynotes include: Chris Adami (Michigan State U.), Lee Cronin (U. Glasgow), Sara Imari Walker (Arizona State U.), Eric Smith (ELSI/Sante Fe Institute) and Douglas Erwin (Smithsonian Institution).
To maintain a productive workshop-style atmosphere, the conference is limited to 100 participants. Participants must therefore apply to ensure a space at the meeting. There is no registration fee.
Applications for participation are now open and may be submitted at:
Applicants may also submit abstracts for the poster session, which will be held throughout the entire week and is integral to the workshop-style atmosphere of the meeting. Abstract submissions for poster presentations are being accepted through Aug. 1st 2015 and should be submitted at the link above.
For more information on the meeting, including a full list of confirmed speakers, please visit our conference website: