CoMPLEX news 2006-2008

25 April 2007: ‘Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide’

UCL PhD student Lewis Dartnell (UCL Centre for Mathematics & Physics in the Life Sciences & Experimental Biology/CoMPLEX) has published his first book: ‘Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide’. The possibility of extraterrestrial life has captured the human imagination for centuries, and has now taken shape into the interdisciplinary science of astrobiology. Scientists have been searching relentlessly for planets suitable for life, and have just come up with a promising candidate, an Earth-like planet 20 light years away. In his book, Lewis explores the latest scientific findings, and tries to answer some of the field’s most fundamental questions, such as the definition of ‘life’, how life emerged on our world, and where else in the cosmos life may have arisen. more...

27 July 2006: Extravagant but worthless gifts help a guy get the girl
Dr Peter Sozou and Professor Robert Seymour from University College London (UCL) have developed a mathematical model that shows how expensive but worthless gifts may help facilitate courtship. Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London they analysed the function of a courtship gift and what the characteristics of a 'good' gift are. They show that gifts can act as a signal of a man's intention. Offering an expensive gift may signal a long-term commitment but the man must be wary of being exploited by a g old-digger who intends to dump him once she gets the gift. more...

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