Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Complexity Explorer Newsletter

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06 Nov 2020
Complex Systems Astrobiology Origins of Life Technology Networks

Hi Complexity Explorers,

We have just wrapped up our first-ever Online Complexity Interactive. The SFI Education team is taking a brief and much-needed break, but don't worry we will have more Complexity Explorer content for you soon! In the meantime, we are very excited to bring you a few new SFI projects. 

New InterPlanetary Podcast: Alien Crash Site

Thirteen years ago, an alien civilization visited our planet and left behind a myriad of mysterious materials in their crash sites. These areas, Zones, behave very strangely, but the items they contain could change the trajectory of our technological advancement. What appears as a hoop might actually be a perpetual-motion machine. What appears as a slime might alter space-time. Spend too much time in the Zone and your genes might mutate, your bones might dissolve, your body might be ground into meat. If you’re lucky enough to make it out alive, you’ll likely be imprisoned. But a successful trip in and out of the Zone could alter human history. Do you dare? And for what? 

Alien Crash Site, a new speculative technology pod from SFI’s InterPlanetary Project, takes a page from the 1971 soviet science-fiction classic, Roadside Picnic. What transformative alien artifact might you unearth from the Zone? And what might it do for the world? Watch the original video interviews at or subscribe to the podcast via apple podcasts or at

Listen Now > 

Andromeda Strain and the Meaning of Life

What can a science-fiction story about an alien virus tell us about life itself, on Earth and beyond? A new video mini-series, “Andromeda Strain and the Meaning of Life,” will explore major questions around astrobiology and life’s origins through imaginative conversations between six leading researchers in the field. Produced by the InterPlanetary Project, the series tackles one of SFI’s most ambitious and defining research themes – the emergence of life and the possibility that it exists elsewhere in the universe. SFI researchers are now pushing new frontiers in origins-of-life research through a NASA and NSF-funded research coordination network (RCN) that brings new fields and methods to the study of astrobiology and life’s origins. Traditionally, these researchers have shared new insights with the public at SFI’s annual InterPlanetary Festival. Because the continued threat of COVID-19 makes hosting a festival near impossible, in 2020 the InterPlanetary Project will explore Astrobiology and Life Detection through the online mini-series. SFI President David Krakauer kicks off this mini-series, using Michael Crichton’s science-fiction film The Andromeda Strain to frame some of the challenging questions at the center of origins-of-life research. Confirmed contributors to the conversation include Chris Kempes, Kate Adamala, Sara Imari Walker, Lee Cronin, Pete Worden, and Jeremy England.

Watch Now >

Your Stories

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