Shaken, not stirred: a recipe to make life
To understand the mystery of life has been the greatest challenge of mankind forever. The smallest unit of life is a cell. Synthetic cells – cells made in the lab – are a way to understand what 'stuff' life is made of. What ingredients do you need to mix together in order to create something that is 'living’?
As physicists, we like to look at things in the simplest possible way. Using that method, we try to find a recipe on how and when to combine those ingredients into a working cell.
Designing the rebirth of life
The creation of synthetic life is expected to revolutionize biotechnology leading to e.g. new medicines and self-healing materials. It also raises urgent questions about the ethical limits of research, how synthetic life will change our society, and who owns this new life. We need to address these issues timely so scientists can take ethical and socioeconomic concerns onboard when shaping this new technology. Giving the public a voice in shaping the technology is necessary to design our future together.