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Paul Davies: The Demon in the Machine

Despite stunning advances in biology, we still don’t know what life is or how it really began.

For generations, scientists have struggled to make sense of this fundamental question. Life on every level has proven magical and even a humble bacterium accomplishes things so dazzling that no human engineer can match it.

Based on research from his new book The Demon in the Machine, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, argues that the answer is at last in sight. In this penetrating and wide-ranging new analysis, bestselling author Davies from the Beyond Center at Arizona State University proposes answers in a domain where computing, chemistry, quantum physics and nanotechnology intersect.

From life’s murky origins to the microscopic engines that run the cells in our bodies, Davies will explain transformations in technology and medicine, the physics of two-headed worms, and answer the age-old question of whether or not we are alone in the universe.

Our brains have the capacity of a megawatt super computer but they operate with the energy equivalent of a dim electric lightbulb. And in some cases, very dim.

Paul Davies


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Photo credit: Prudence Upton

This talk was chaired by Ann Mossop, Director of the UNSW Centre for Ideas.

This talk was presented as part of Sydney Science Festival and was supported by the Bendigo Writers Festival.

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