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Prof. Lewis Dartnell is an astrobiologist who looks for life on distant planets. In his most recent book, however, Dartnell turns his gaze inward and backward to the human story – who we are, how we came to be, where we are coming from, and, most importantly, how the geological planetary processes drove the evolution of humanity and set the stage where our culture, politics, science, technology, and economics later came to play.
During our 85-min conversation with Lewis Dartnell, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as our Origins: How the Earth Shaped Human History; the associations between US domestic politics and 75-million-old rocks; the Anthropocene and Climate Change; the existential challenges that humanity is facing today; AI and consciousness; intelligence as a survival function of settings your priorities; The Knowledge and how to rebuild a civilization; Alien Life and whether we are the lone intelligent species; colonizing Mars and the minimum viable number of people; story, science, music, and ethics; why the world is transformed by asking questions.
My favorite quotes that I will take away from this conversation with Lewis Dartnell are:
We’re children of plate tectonics
Humanity survives on eating grass
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Prof. Lewis Dartnell is a research scientist, presenter, and author based in London, UK.
Lewis graduated from Oxford University with a First Class degree in Biological Sciences and completed his Ph.D. at University College London in 2007. Darnell currently holds the Professorship in Science Communication at the University of Westminster. His research is in the field of astrobiology and the search for microbial life on Mars. Lewis has also held an STFC Science in Society Fellowship and is very active in delivering live events at schools and science festivals, working as a scientific consultant for the media, and has appeared in numerous TV documentaries and radio shows. He has won several awards for his science writing and outreach work and regularly freelances for newspapers and magazine articles. Prof. Dartnell has published four books: The Knowledge was the Sunday Times ‘New Thinking’ Book of the Year and international bestseller, and my latest ORIGINS: How the Earth Made Us is a Sunday Times top History book of 2019.