Shape of Life
Duration: 4 hours
Target Audience: Anyone who is interested in science, life, joy, nature and the cosmos
Nature creates infinite variety of things from a finite number of entities. For example, American Chemical Society’s chemical registry has listed about 52 million organic and inorganic chemicals that are created from a finite 92 naturally occurring elements that we see in the periodic table. Infinite variety of body poses and movements are possible from a finite number, 206 bones that have well-defined degrees of freedom controlled by 650 muscles. Similarly, about 1.25 million animals that are cataloged so far fit into 35 body plans. More than 95% of these animals fit into just 8 bauplans (body plans) that fascinate scientific community. Most animals have heads, limbs, sensors and other body parts that are integrated into a functioning whole. In this lecture the eight bauplans, or body architectures of chordates, sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, annelids, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms will be discussed. We will understand that Nature is austere, minimal and parsimonious in her ability by maintaining only a finite number of entities, but is extraordinarily creative in her creation of myriad forms, whether they are substances, body movements or life forms, all created from a few basic units.