Brian Enquist
Brian Enquist

Life on Earth is multifaceted, yet ultimately all of life has descended from one common ancestor and has been guided by natural selection. But has the evolution of modern-day diversity and ecosystems been contingent solely on the initial chemical building blocks of life and the historical events that have characterized our planet over geologic time?

Scientists like Brian J. Enquist say evolution doesn’t act alone. In the Arizona Senior Academy’s second encore presentation of the UA College of Science series, “Life in the Universe,” Enquist will show there are numerous aspects of life pointing to regular and deterministic processes that shape the complexity and diversity of life.

Enquist’s talk will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 18) in the Senior Academy’s Great Room.

He will cite examples where the laws of chemistry and physics, in addition to evolutionary rules, have resulted in general properties of life. These properties ultimately determine how long we live, the diversity of life, the function and regulation of ecosystems and the biosphere, and how life will respond to climate change.

The 2015 UA Science Lecture Series explores our Universe at molecular, biological, planetary and cosmic scales to ask ‘What is life?’ and how do we recognize it?

Enquist is a Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is broadly trained as a plant ecologist.

The Arizona Senior Academy’s annual encore series gives east side residents a chance to see and hear all seven thought-provoking lectures, originally presented in Centennial Hall on the campus of the University of Arizona.. The Senior Academy will offer subsequent encore lectures in the series on Feb. 26, March 5, March 12, April 1 and April 8.

Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer

Life on Earth: By Chance or By Law? Feb.2015