AP Bio Project: What is the meaning of life?

The number 42 is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, according to the supercomputer “Deep Thought” in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

What is the meaning of life? Well, biology has a lot to say about that. Before we begin to tackle smaller, more focused questions about life in our class, let’s go big-picture mode to explore what binds together a field of science so brash as to tackle life itself!

Life, and thus biology itself is a huge topic – too big for just one episode, or even one book. If a fancy director made an amazing 5-part movie epic about life itself, what stories would she tell? What themes would be explored? What would the movie posters look like?

According to our textbook, the 5 major themes of biology are as follows:

  1. New properties emerge at successive levels of biological org
  2. Life’s processes involve the expression and transmission of genetic info
  3. Life requires the transfer and transformation of energy and matter
  4. From ecosystems to molecules, interactions are important in biological systems
  5. Evolution accounts for the unity and diversity of life

It’s your job to devise and promote a movie based on conveying one of those themes. Check out details in the Sherpa’s Log.

So what is the meaning of life? Maybe we we’ll never have the ultimate answer, but hopefully by exploring biology’s themes, we can ask ever better questions while we still walk and breathe. Or, you could try to forget all about it like Calvin and Hobbes here:


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