Jos de Mul: eLife. From biology to technology and back again
Jos de Mul, eLife. From biology to technology and back again, in P. Bruno and S.Campbell (Eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Life. London: Continuum, forthcoming.
One of the most striking developments in the history of the sciences over the past fifty years has been the gradual moving towards each other of biology and computer science and their increasing tendency to overlap. Two things may be held responsible for that. The first is the tempestuous development of molecular biology which followed the first adequate description, in 1953, of the structure of the double helix of the DNA, the carrier of hereditary information. Biologists therefore became increasingly interested in computer science, the science which focuses, among other things, on the question what information really is and how it is encoded and transferred. No less important was that it would have been impossible to sequence and decipher the human genome without the use of ever stronger computers. This resulted in a fundamental digitalization of biology. This phenomenon is particularly visible in molecular biology, where DNA-research increasingly moves from the analogical world of biology to the digital world of the computer. ….