Emergence@ASU graduate student Cole Mathis heads to the Santa Fe Institute Jan. 13th to give a seminar on his recent paper titled "The Emergence of Life as a 1st Order Phase Transition". More details are here, abstract below.
Abstract. Life is a state of matter characterized by a stable pattern of non-equilibrium behavior. Replication, central to maintenance of pattern, is thought to play an important role in driving the transition from non-living to living matter. Using a kinetic Monte-Carlo simulation of an artificial chemistry, we demonstrate the existence of a phase transition from non-life to life (defined as non-replicating and replicating systems respectively). The transition is first order and occurs spontaneously in the absence of external tuning and has features which differ from those described previously.
Sara Imari Walker