The 2013 NAWCC Ward Francillon Time Symposium and Special Exhibition of Spectacular Clocks, Watches, and Sundials
by The Pre-Eminent Master
Thomas Tompion (1639–1713)

California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California

7-9 November 2013

Lynn Rothschild

Evolutionary Biologist/ Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center; Consulting Professor, Stanford University; and Adjunct Professor, Brown University (U.S.A.)

The Meaning of Time
in Biology

  • Biography
  • Presentation
  • Further Information
  • Lynn Rothschild is an evolutionary biologist/astrobiologist at NASA Ames and professor at Stanford University and Brown University, where she teaches astrobiology and space exploration. She has broad training in biology, with degrees from Yale and Indiana University, a Ph.D. from Brown University in molecular and cell biology, and a love for protistan evolution. Since arriving at Ames in 1987, her research has focused on how life, particularly microbial life, has evolved in the context of the physical environment, both here and potentially elsewhere, and how we might tap into “nature’s toolbox” to advance the field of synthetic biology. Field sites range from Australia to Africa to the Andes, from the ocean to 100,000 feet on a balloon. In the last few years Rothschild has brought her expertise in extremophiles and evolutionary biology to the field of synthetic biology, addressing how synthetic biology can enhance NASA’s missions. For the last two years she has been the faculty advisor of the award-winning Brown-Stanford International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Competition team. Rothschild is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Explorers Club.
    We have become impatient waiting for a web page to load, but the first member of our species evolved about 150,000 years ago – a geological instant as brief and as transitory as a text message. The shortest generation time of a bacterium is a sprint at under ten minutes, whereas a 200-year old whale, turtle, or tree is not unknown. Life is a phenomenon that integrates processes ranging from nanosecond reactions to the sometimes glacial pace of evolution. Lynn Rothschild will muse on these processes with radically different time scales that go to creating and maintaining the diversity of life on earth and how this could be related to the potential for life elsewhere.