Dr. Cole Mathis, a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow working at Arizona State University and the Santa Fe Institute, was interviewed for the Alien Crash Site Podcast on June 24, 2021. This podcast, from the Santa Fe Institute, is an InterPlanetary interview series that dives into what a scientist would risk their life to investigate if they were able to explore an alien crash site! You can hear the entire conversation here! Included at the bottom of this post is the full synopses from their page highlighting the interview.
Dr. Cole Mathis being interviewed for Alien Crash Site on June 24, 2021.
This week, Cole Mathis, a computational and statistical physicist who trying to figure out the origins of life, ventures into the Zone. His work includes an effort to find life elsewhere in the universe. We were curious to see what Cole would pick if he stopped seeking alien life, and instead sought out an artifact made by alien life. The timing could not have been better, given the recent publication of a paper on evaluating artifacts of potentially living systems in the universe, that he co-authored with Leroy Cronin, Sara Walker, Heather Graham and many others. We spend much of our conversation unpacking, or "breaking down", what's at stake in this new proposed method for detecting life: Assembly Theory. We shift into an evaluation of the "artifact" in science, in art, and in fiction. And then we hear what he would risk his life to unearth from the dangers of an Alien Crash Site, and what impact it would have on human civilization.