Compiling the source code for Pandora !*

Those of you who follow my ramblings about the grand challenge to realize physically the biology of the planet Pandora from the movie Avatar, will recognize a theme and connection to my earlier posts.

I've been watching the amazing set of talks from the recent Solve for X conference. One of the talks discusses beginning to prototype a compiler for synthetic life forms. Omri Amirav-drory has a start, see his site, or watch the link to his Solve for X presentation, see below.

I think the source code is going to be very much more complex that we imagine today, but still, it is exciting to see people with bold ideas making steps toward such things.

If you are young enough to take up the challenge, then by all means keep up the effort to learn biology, get that organic chemistry under your belt, and master biochemistry; the ride is going to be exhilarating!

Earlier this week at a coffee shop we were sitting beside two young women studying with books scattered all over their table. I noticed that one of them was working organic chemistry problems while the other was studying Latin: a chemist and a Classics scholar (two of my main interests) how cool was that!

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to chat with them; I said something to the chemistry student, and thanked her for her work and diligence. We had a long discussion about the struggles through organic and all those 3x5 cards for memorizing reaction details (I used to be thumbing through my cards as I drove down the freeway at 65 MPH: look down and read a card, glance up to watch the road while reciting the reaction, shuffle the cards, look down...look up and swerve back into my lane; I really don't recommend it as a proper study habit. More safely, I also used to be working my cards anytime I walked anywhere, or stood in line, say for lunch, or to get a movie ticket). I shared with the student how happy it made me to see her studying chemistry, and how it used to upset me that every time I stopped at a coffee shop I'd see Bible study groups, but never organic study sessions....if they would spend just a fraction of that time learning organic, and biochem, maybe fewer people would be dying, and maybe we could make a better world!

So, if you are students of the carbon bond, keep up the work; it is the fundamental building block of the future!
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