Physarum Polycephalum

University of New Hampshire, Mar 08, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes
files/images/Physarum_polycephalum_plasmodium.jpg

So far as I know, this is the first slime mold to hold a faculty position at a university. The faculty page says " Physarum Polycephalum, a plasmodial slime mold, researches important problems from a non-human perspective, and enhances intellectual life on campus by helping students and colleagues to think about the world without human biases." This Vox article fills in the details. "Slime molds are not actually molds. They’re much more like amoebas — single-celled microscopic sacs that move around by altering their shape... when two or more slime mold cells meet, they dissolve the cell membranes that separate each individual and fuse together in one membrane... there’s no limit to the number of individuals that can join the collective, called a plasmodium. Each cell of the slime mold is making decisions that ultimately benefit the whole collective."

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