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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

40:16

Complexity in Biology

Adam Rutherford takes the show to Dublin this week, to wrestle with great matters of biological complexity. Trinity College Dublin has organised a mass gathering of some of the world's leading researchers in the life sciences to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most influential series of lectures in the 20th century. The talks were delivered by the celebrated physicist Erwin Schrodinger in 1943 who applied his mind to a fundamental biological question: what is life? Some of his ideas were an influence on Francis Crick as he worked on the structure of DNA.

Seventy five years on, Adam is joined by four of the many scientists delivering their own lectures this week. They tackle subjects of complexity in biology, ranging from the origin of complex life, the increasingly messy structure of life's evolutionary tree, the functioning of the human brain as a network of many component parts, and the place of neuroscience discoveries in the building of artificial intelligences.

The guests are:

Nick Lane, evolutionary biochemist at University College London,
Beth Shapiro, evolutionary geneticist of the University of California Santa Cruz,
Danielle Bassett, physicist and neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvannia,
Murray Shanahan, artificial intelligence researcher at Imperial College London and Google's DeepMind

The podcast version ends with a question and answer session with the show's audience who include a surprise celebrity guest.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

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