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Scientific American has just done a great write-up on LAB's efforts to use stoichiometry and math to detect life on Ocean Worlds! This is such a cool approach as it takes a fundamental feature of life as we know it, ratios of chemicals in relation to cell size, and uses that as a biosignature to detect life. This is truly an Agnostic approach to finding signs of life and I'm excited to see it gaining so much traction in the press!

An artist's depiction of an autonomous submersible diving into Europa's ocean through a hypothetical surface fissure. Credit: Loren A. Roberts for the Planetary Society (CC BY 3.0)

If we are to have any confidence in reports of life detection, it will rely upon creative approaches such as this. It's questionable if we will find life that resembles life on Earth. Therefore, we need ways to detect life as we don't know it. Chemical signatures based upon logical and mathematics hold great promise as agnostic biosignatures. How cool would it be to get a signal from Dragonlfy in 2036 and see ratios like this and know we've potentially found completely new type of life on Titan? Kudos to Christopher Kempes, Simon Levin, and all their co-authors on this project!

LAB Co-I Pan Conrad is featured in a recent article from CNN, "She's a priest. You'll never guess her other job." The profile discusses Dr. Conrad's broad and interdisciplinary career, from her study of music composition to her PhD in geology and her master's degree in divinity. You can read the article in full here.

Image description: Portrait photo of Dr. Pan Conrad against a blue background.

A new LAB publication in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, "Generalized stoichiometry and biogeochemistry for astrobiological applications," is featured in an article from Universe Today. This paper discusses the potential for stoichiometry modeling to provide chemical and ecological biosignatures across various worlds and environments. You can read the Universe Today article here, or read the publication or its press release.

Image description: Figure 5 from the paper cited above, showing the ratio of the cellular to environmental nitrogen as function of the size spectrum exponent, the minimum quota (cellular requirement) scaling exponent, and the growth rate scaling exponent.

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