CELS 2021 – A report from the trenches

Image credit: Brian Gage.

The first-ever Living Systems Engineering Conference (CELS 2021) was held June 3-5 in Denton, Texas. CELS was organized by the Engineering Research Group (ERG) and sponsored by the Center for Science & Culture, Discovery Institute.

In this workshop-like setting, a select group of 60 biologists, engineers, physicians and researchers from related disciplines came together for three days to explore ways (1) to apply engineering principles to better understand biological systems. , (2) to design a theoretical framework to explain and predict the behaviors of living systems, and (3) to develop research programs to demonstrate the engineering principles at work in living systems.

Twenty-five different speakers presented a wide range of topics, including engineering subjects such as the design and processing of information, control systems and the irreducibility of signaling systems; biological subjects this included topoisomerases which unravel DNA strands, the vital functions of the bacteriophage and the fine tuning of the human body; and fundamental subjects such as the structure of theoretical frameworks and the architecture of living systems, from molecules to ecosystems.

With ample time set aside for formal and informal discussions, participants generated dozens of ideas for new research projects that will explore critical questions about how living systems work. These projects involve close collaboration between engineers and biologists and are expected to bring a lot of new knowledge and further consolidate the principles of intelligent design.

It is the starting point of a new and fascinating (and indispensable) work. There will be more to say about this in the future. Stay tuned.

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