In this hour, we hear from Craig Venter, widely regarded as one of science's leading innovators. Venter, who's come as close as anyone has to creating life in a test tube, tells Steve Paulson what drives him.
Next, University of Wisconsin geochemist Nita Sahai talks with Anne Strainchamps about how life might have begun on Earth.
Then, on the other hand, maybe the Earth itself is alive. That's the remarkable idea behind the Gaia hypothesis. James Lovelock came up with it in the 1960s and at first no one would take him seriously. Lovelock, now in his nineties and one of our most celebrated scientists, tells Steve Paulson where the Gaia theory came from and how it's evolved.
After that, Kevin Kelly is one of the founders of Wired magazine. He's also the author of a provocative book called What Technology Wants. Kelly tells Jim Fleming that the sum total of our technology - what he calls "the technicum" - is taking on the properties of life itself.
Following that, anthropologist Tom Boellstorff takes us on a tour through the virtual world of Second Life.
Finally, astro-biologist Paul Davies chairs the SETI Post-Detection Task Group and is the author of The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence. He tells Steve Paulson that alien intelligence might be stranger than anything Hollywood has dreamt up. [Broadcast Date: August 5, 2011]