21-6-2018

Lecture Origin of Life by Prof. George M. Whitesides

Last USE chance on the 19th of July

“What was the origin of life?”  This question is one of the most interesting in science, and unlikely ever to be answered unambiguously. It is also one that provides the basis for a broad range of questions about chemistry, dynamic systems, dissipation, information, and emergence, both in the peribiotic world and in general. This discussion focuses on a conflict between three themes:  i) What came before RNA?  ii) How do reactions occurring in complex mixtures of chemicals self-organize in networks that might have been the precursors of metabolism?  iii) How important was RNA, anyway?  Was it part of the “origin,” or part of “evolution.” Our work emphasizes networks of reactions, but all three questions are probably intimately connected. This talk is heavier on speculation (more “Questions about questions about the origin of life”) than on answers.

Helix STC 0.01 from 11.00 – 12.00 hrs on the 19th of July