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flower buds in a blue sky and the moon
Chris Heller for Science Stories

[Rerun] What is life?

What is life? What is our understanding of the basis of life?  Why is it so difficult to define life, and what is it that is special about life? The traditional descriptions of life are in disarray. In order to reach a deeper understanding of life, researchers are moving into biosemiotics, which is about forming and interpreting signs. Thus, DNA is not just a code for the life of an organism, but the organism or the individual cell itself contributes to how it decodes the meaning of the DNA that it contains. Where is it then that we find the soul of life? Here we give an answer to that question.

Biochemist, philosopher of science and author Jesper Hoffmeyer died on September 25, 2019 after a short illness. Together with Claus Emmeche, Jesper Hoffmeyer was the first to draw attention to biosemiotics in Denmark. For the past 40 years, Jesper Hoffmeyer has written and debated biology and societal issues at a high level, and his research in biosemiotics is world-renown. The two researchers were interviewed by Science Journalist Jens Degett in 2015 (in Danish).

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You can also watch the Science & Cocktails video of the talk given by Jesper Hoffmeyer on November 27, 2012.