Origin/Synthesis of Life VRE



“We live in an age of transition, an age that demands constructive modification of our environment. We must find and explore new resources, must understand our environment better, and must achieve a less destructive co-existence with nature. The time scale of the qualitative modifications that are required. . . is of the order of the decade. . . . Some of the basic questions remain largely unanswered.”

Ilya Prigogine,
Nobel laureate, 1977
Prologue: Science in an Age of Transition from Exploring Complexity

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the people doing it.”

Chinese Proverb

“What would have taken one thousand generations in the past may now happen in a single generation. Biological evolution is on a runaway course toward severe instability. . . . from life itself acting through a species of its own creation, an immensely successful species, filling every corner of the planet with continually growing throngs, increasingly subjugating and exploiting the world.”

Christian de Duve,
Nobel Laureate, 1974
Vital Dust: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth

ESAC (Earth Science and Astrobiology Collaboratory)
is a working group of scientists, professionals, academics, and consultants. Our collaborative web environment and decision support framework for cross-disciplinary team building serves a range of complex research, planning, and development problems. ESAC serves as a testbed to study how more effectively to support cross-disciplinary fusion and collaboration to address multi-faceted research problems and ecosystem challenges.
This Ecosystem Forecasting Information Visualization and Decision Support Framework is customized on a project-by-project basis to serve project-focused teams, whose use in turn adds incrementally to its big picture mapping of cross-disciplinary problem linkages. From scientific experts, to policy-makers, to the public, all have a stake. We seek your feedback and participation in the Lake Tahoe Pilot.

 Origin/Synthesis of Life VRE
This Virtual Research Environment (VRE) is collaborative web site to support the exchange of ideas on the origin and synthesis of life. These big research questions integrate many disciplines and so offer an ideal testbed for research on how cross-disciplinary scientific and engineering collaboration can be supported and to integrate and test new collaborative problem-solving methods and tools.

BEACON (Bio-Evolutionary Advanced Concepts) think tank cross-pollinates ideas to develop bio-inspired information science and technology; this think tank is a petri dish for design research and development of knowledge management tools.

Ecosystem Forecasting in Earth Science, and the future of life on Earth in astrobiology, raise questions that can only be addressed by cross-disciplinary teams able to
  • cross the language barrier: big agencies (e.g. the USGS and EPA) donít speak the same language or use the same databases;
  • bridge disciplines and fiefdoms with a framework that supports diverse participation.
  • engage the spectrum from scientists and engineers to policy-makers and the public.


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