Dimitar Sasselov is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and founder of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative.
In this video-interview, the Bulgarian scientist presents his groundbreaking book `Life On Super-Earths' and sheds light on the key role of interdisciplinarity. Explaining the magic of DLD, he shares the experiences he had collected at the 'Go To Space' breakfast with George Whitesides (CEO, Virgin Galactic), Eric Anderson (CEO, Space Adventures), and Peter Diamandis, introduced by Esther Dyson. Moreover, check out an exclusive interview snippet for Focus magazine and his DLD12 talk as you scroll down.
'Something which brings our dreams of going to space to reality.'
You can find the entire DLD12 Interview Series here
Read an exclusive and unpublished snippet of an interview for Focus Magazine (03/12) here:
LK: How important is interdisciplinarity to you?
Dimitar: Interdisciplinarity is key. It has two aspects two it. The project on understanding the nature of life and how it originates cannot be done without the combined efforts of human sciences (meaning the different disciplines from life sciences to physical sciences. It requires that approach of people from molecular biology, chemistry, planetary science, and astrophysics to work together. Because that’s the nature of the problem. The probem is one that combines the life and the physical sciences. You cannot just solve it by taking one or the other side. That is key to the scientific research. We have to work together.
There is another aspect to this work. Scientists have to cross another boundary. That is the boundary to the general public and particularily people who are involved in technology as well as to people who think about it in more general philosophical terms. Philosophically, it has to do with the fact that in the general human frame of reference we for centuries have grown to consider life as a phenomenon that is very distinct than the inanimate world of the stars, of the rocks, of everything else that is not alive. Sometimes that makes it difficult to find appropiate language in terms of concepts how to describe and convey them. Our language is already conditioned to consider life as a very different entity. And the functions of life as very different entities. And some of those functions can be even separated from what the nature of life is. It would be simply considered as a natural phenomena that could be engineered.
LK: How does DLD fall into place?
Dimitar: DLD is very appropiate in that sense because it brings together people of diverse backgrounds both in terms of arts and the humanities but also particularly in new technologies. Where these new technologies need to become aware of the power of chemical synthetic biology and how it could and I am sure will transform our life here in the coming years.