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Jose Aguilar-Rodríguez

Valencia jose ms.jpg

In the beginning was the science fiction. Jules Verne and Herbert George Wells, the fathers of the genre. Then was the science with Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould. The nexus was Isaac Asimov with his wonderful stories of cerebral adventures and fantastic scientific essays. They opened my eyes to the immense beauty of science as a method and showed me the scientific attitude to the universe and the rewards that science offers us in the form of understanding and wonder. So I will be forever grateful to them. Currently, if the science is the matter of my thought, the science fiction is the matter of my dreams.

Since then I was captivated with the space. Paraphrasing Darwin, I think there is grandeur in the view that science give us about the emergence and evolution of life by natural selection on a tiny planet like a speck of dust lost in the vastness of the deep space. The knowledge about our cosmic habitat, with the temporal and spatial grandeur of the universe, has entered my understanding of biology. The fact that life arose 4 billion years ago in a rich-water planet in an otherwise unremarkable Solar System in an outlying part of the Galaxy in an unexceptional part of the universe is very instructive.

I think that understanding the phenomena of life from a cosmic perspective was my main motivation to start studying Biology at the university (and this year I am excited to start Physics too). Another important motivation was the challenge to the scientific activity that is the biological complexity. Biology studies the living beings and the different levels of organization that constitute them or that arise on their interactions with each other and with the planet. And last but not least, another motivation was my passion for evolutionary biology, the study of a process that enriches with diversity and beauty the living world.

For all that, Astrobiology, the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe is a discipline that attracts me a lot. In addition, the fact that its success depends critically upon the close coordination of diverse scientific disciplines and programs, including space missions, makes it more very attractive. I am really very interested in the basic questions that addresses astrobiology: how life begin and evolve?, does life exists elsewhere in the universe?, and in connection with my love for science fiction: what is the future of life on Earth and beyond?. I hope to see the day when the extraterrestrial life will has been discovered. How similar o how different those forms of life will be is one of the most enticing questions of our age. But among the goals of astrobiology that most interested me are the first two: the origin of life and his evolution.