The papers are gathered under the following headings: Origin of Life, Self-Organization, and Self-Replication Development and Differentiation Evolutionary and Adaptive Dynamics Robots and Autonomous Agents Communication, Cooperation, and Collective Behavior Methodological and Technological Applications The Broader Context
The book covers all major scientific approaches to creating minimal life, both in the laboratory and in simulation. It emphasizes the bottom-up view of physicists, chemists, and material scientists but also includes the molecular biologists top-down approach and the origin-of-ljfe perspective. Ihe capacity to engineer living technology could have a enormous socio-economic impact and could bring both good and ill. Protocells promises to be the essential reference for research on bottom-up assembly of life and living technology for years to come.
Selections ranging from Aristotle and Descartes to Sagan and Dawkins are organized around four broad themes covering classical discussions of life, the origins and extent of natural life, contemporary artificial life creations, and the definition and meaning of “life” in its most general form. Each section is preceded by an extensive introduction connecting the various ideas discussed in individual chapters and providing helpful background material for understanding them. With its interdisciplinary perspective, this fascinating collection is essential reading for scientists and philosophers interested in astrobiology, the origin of life, synthetic biology, and the philosophy of life.