One of the landmark events of 20th century science was celebrated and reinterpreted for the 21st century in Trinity College Dublin on 12 July 2012 as part of the Science in the City programme of ESOF2012. Dr Craig Venter, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s and a pioneer of synthetic biology delivered a lecture entitled, ‘What is Life? A 21st century perspective’ recreating the Irish event that inspired the discovery of the structure of DNA. In February, 1943 one of the most distinguished scientists of the 20th Century, Erwin Schrödinger, delivered a seminal lecture, entitled ‘What is Life?’, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, in Trinity College Dublin. The lecture presented far-sighted ideas on how hereditary information could be encoded in a chemical structure (aperiodic crystal) in living cells. Schrödinger’s book (1944) of the same title is considered to be a scientific classic. The book was cited by Crick and Watson as one of the inspirations which ultimately led them to unravel the structure of DNA in 1953, a breakthrough which won them the Nobel prize.