ASU Origins of Life Spring 2016


ASU Origins of Life Spring 2016

Forum discussion for students enrolled in "Origins of Life" at Arizona State, Spring 2016 semester. 

Members: 23
Latest Activity: Mar 29, 2018

This group is a forum discussion for students enrolled in SES 494/591: The Origins of Life, Spring 2016 semester at Arizona State University. We will be discussing a number of papers over the course of the semester and writing our very own blog posts about topics related to the origin of life!

Discussion Forum

Full list of our class Blog Posts!

Started by Sara Imari Walker Apr 23, 2016. 0 Replies

Here are the links to the blog posts from this semester!Idea: Humans…Continue

Sign-up link for Blog posts

Started by Sara Imari Walker. Last reply by Greg Vance Feb 11, 2016. 3 Replies

Here is the sign-up link for choosing a week for doing your blog post:…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Nisha Patel on October 22, 2016 at 10:46pm

Hay can any one giving me information about for what kind of semester you talking about?

Comment by Tucker Ely on April 28, 2016 at 2:32pm
Hey guys! This Friday we invite you come delve into the world of mathematical modeling with Ted Pavlic! 3pm in PSF 652.
TITLE: "What Are Computational and Mathematical Models, and Why Bother?"
Generally speaking, a 'model' provides hopefully useful answers to particular 'what if' questions. A fashion model allows someone to ask questions like, "What if I would wear that shirt? What would that look like?" A mouse model allows a scientist to ask questions like, "What if a cancer was treated with this particular immuno-therapy?" Likewise, computational and mathematical models provide allow for other kinds of 'what if' questions. For whatever reason, biologists are highly trained in the different kinds of 'modeling' approaches that involve laboratory methods. Terms like RT-PCR, RNAi, dsRNA, immunohistochemistry, and operant conditioning are well understood by empiricists who nevertheless have zero plans to ever use such methods in their own work. However, terms like ODE, PDE, SDE, DDE, chaos, stochastic process, measure space, ABM, IBM, and CA are completely foreign or recognizable but mysterious. Why is this? In this informal conversation, we will discuss the different methods that mathematical biologists have used to ask their own 'what if' questions. Just as RNAi is not the appropriate method for every empirical study, certain mathematical and computational methods should really only be used in very particular scenarios. Just as all mathematicians should know the difference between transcription and translation before bothering to engage in biological science, all biologists should have some literacy in these topics, especially those studying topics related to complex systems, such as studies of collective behavior of eusocial hymenoptera and isoptera.
Comment by Alan Filipski on April 26, 2016 at 10:41am
I chose to comment on the blogs of Brooke Kubby and Jake Hanson for this week's writing assignment. If anyone wants to see the comments, I also left them at their blog entries.
Comment by Brooke Kubby on April 22, 2016 at 11:45pm

With 15 minutes to spare!  I finally posted my blog post.

Comment by Sara Imari Walker on April 17, 2016 at 4:35pm

Hello class! 

This week our special guest is Asst. Prof. Ted Pavlic in the School of Sustainability and the School of Computing, Informatics & Decision Systems Engineering. We'll be discussing topics as diverse as eusocial insects, ants and even human computation! 

This week's reading is a bit different - its a book chapter by Ted and collaborator Stephen Pratt (also from ASU), which is included below. Because the chapter is so long, there is no written assignment due this week, but I do expect you to get through as much of the material as possible so we can have a lively discussion. 


Comment by Alicia Gonzalez on April 13, 2016 at 12:50pm

Here you can find all our awesome posts:

Comment by Alan Filipski on April 11, 2016 at 4:05pm
Boltzmann Brain as Purple Cow
This Boltzmann Brain stuff is quite mind-boggling. I found an additional discussion, by J. Richard Gott, of the same material as in our assigned papers with some further explanations that I found helpful, at:

The paper concludes with:

I never saw a Boltzmann Brain;
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.


Comment by Sara Imari Walker on April 9, 2016 at 1:29pm

Reading this week, by popular request - Boltzmann brains! We have two readings this week one more technical and one popular (for your write-up you may choose one, but please do read both). I would recommend starting with the New Scientist "Spooks in Space" article then moving to the more technical article by Bousso and Freivogel. 



Comment by Sara Imari Walker on April 5, 2016 at 8:00pm

Hello all! This week we will start more concrete discussion on the astronomical context for life with a paper by Lineweaver et. al defining the ``galatic habitable'' zone, here is the paper: Habitability.pdf

Comment by Sara Imari Walker on March 30, 2016 at 9:24am

Hi all - Here's our reading for this week: Monnard_et_al-2002-The_Anatomical_Record.pdf

Since compartmentalization was the hot topic for discussion last week, we'll read and discuss about compartments!


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