Support Aeon

‘I am a friend of Aeon because I value freedom ... freely provided, intelligently presented information liberates us all.’

Roland M, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

ORIGINAL

Why life is the way it is

6 minutes

Chimeras and lightning: a radical perspective on the evolution of complex life

Life on earth – from mushrooms to humans and everything in between – seems enormously diverse. At the cellular level, however, almost all complex lifeforms are surprisingly similar. Why life is this way, though, remains mysterious. In this Aeon interview, the UK biochemist and author Nick Lane discusses his research on the connection between energy and genes, which, he hypothesises, made possible the radical transformation from single-celled organisms to complex life about 4 billion years ago.

Producer: Kellen Quinn

Interviewer: Nigel Warburton

Editor: Adam D'Arpino

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Physics
Out of nowhere

Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?

Paul Humphreys

Essay/
Cosmology
How cosmic is the cosmos?

Ever since Heisenberg and Tagore, physicists have flirted with Eastern philosophy. Is there anything in the romance?

Zeeya Merali