Arun Dayanandan is a biology graduate student at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The son of two biologists, his passion for science began in the womb. After an inspiring conservation-focused trip to the Galapagos Islands, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study biology in Australia, and a year-long research fellowship in India, he continues to study the biological world in all its forms.
Observe. Identify. Test. Reproduce.
As scientists we study patterns. Inscribing the products of our tinkering, we act as both actor and narrator in a universal story spanning time and space:
Continental biogeographic levels of communities and ecosystems.
Minutiae in form and function of individual beings.
Intricacies in our genes across deep and shallow evolutionary time.
Creation of predictive models shaping our trajectory as a species.
We are in constant search of our raison d’être. Whether human, mineral, plant, animal, or microbe, the unit is irrelevant in our pursuit for signs of order in a chaotic landscape as sentient beings probing the few grains that have amassed order in the sands of time.
Where our own senses end, new tools and technologies push them farther. Landsat and Sentinel allow us to peer from heights the Wright Brothers could never have dreamed of. We can only speculate at Darwin’s thoughts in an age of next generation sequencing. Multivariate statistics, correlated walks, and transformations extend our abilities to dig deeper for signals in the noise. Today’s mathematicians, historians, biologists, and artists break down our existence into six fundamental questions, all leading to one:
WHO ARE WE?
From da Vinci to Darwin, Einstein to Orwell, every change in the state of our knowledge is marked through transdisciplinary synthesis, each questioning preconceived notions of our patterns of movement in time and space. The Anthropocene has brought unprecedented access to knowledge from every corner of the planet. But with this access comes a new wave of opportunities and challenges: global climate change, biodiversity loss, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and diseases unknown are all poised to alter the human experience. Now, more than ever, our knowledge must bridge across disciplines to move forward as a species, together.
This is what motivates me.