I started the evening by asking if life on Earth was an unusual accident or whether this universe easily spawns complexities like us. And either way the answer goes... profound implications!
I used some of my complexity web page as an outline:
Lots of good questions and discussion!
Some people were very interested in the examples of complexity from simple mathematical rules and games described at the end of that page.
Then I talked about some of the research of the chemistry at alkaline hydrothermal vents and how they are possible places where life might have gotten some of its tricks.
This is exciting because two years ago spacecraft Cassini dove through the plumes of Saturn's moon Enceladus and found dissolved silicate minerals and molecular Hydrogen (H2), hints that there might be hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean under the ice of Enceladus.
Then we grew chemical gardens ('Magic rocks') because these mimic some of the processes in these hydrothermal vents. Everybody helped out.
I didn't know how well that part would work, especially I wanted to watch them grow under the microscope. Everything worked. Of course I was too pre-occupied to take pics of them under the microscope through my cameraphone! alas. We had a Blast.
We will do science salon every other sunday 6:30pm at Iconica Social Club in Northampton MA (coffee, pressed juices, amazing pastries, often live music). next one is 12Aug2018, though Iconica is on vacation that week. We'll figure it out.