WSU Astrobiology Seminar Series 2006/7 Academic Year

Friday, September 22, 2:10-3:00 p.m, CUE 203
Louis Irwin

Plateau, Collapse, and Climax: The Past and Future of Life in the Universe


Three patterns of evolution have recurred over nearly 4 billion years of life on Earth. Different organisms most often have either collapsed or reached a plateau of persistence through time with little change. Occasionally, radically new forms have emerged from climactic transitions. If this is a general pattern for the way biological complexity evolves anywhere, reasonable predictions about the nature of life on other worlds with a known planetary history can be made. The recent co-evolution of intelligence (which has evolved independently several times) with technology has precipitated one of the most radical transitions in the history of life, with resulting implications for the Fermi Paradox.