Embryogenesis and regeneration are among the most striking and beautiful phenomena in nature. For a physicist, this brings together many major themes’pattern formation, information processing, the mechanics of complex fluid-like materials’that are essential for our understanding of life more broadly. Connecting macroscopic observables which we can quantify to their microscopic origins is one of the major challenges toward an understanding of these complex processes. In my talk I will give two examples that try to make this connection: (1) How is tissue surface tension connected to the mechanical properties of the constituent cells, such as cortical tension and adhesion? I will directly compare theoretical predictions with experimental data using primarily zebrafish embryonic tissues as the experimental system. (2) How do planarians (flatworms) reproduce asexually? Asexual reproduction and the ability to regenerate are intrinsically connected, but little is known about asexual reproduction in planarians. I will discuss our understanding of the asexual population dynamics based on a large-scale experiment in which we track >10,000 divisions over the course of ~3 years and up to 55 generations using a custom- built Scan-Add-Print database system. Statistical analysis of the reproduction dynamics reveals a reproductive memory whose molecular basis we have now begun to elucidate.