Chance or Necessity; The Biochemistry of the Origin of Life

Andrej Rotter
Department of Pharmacology, The Ohio State University

(September 26, 2008 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Chance or Necessity; The Biochemistry of the Origin of Life

Abstract

Life is thought to have arisen on Earth approximately 3.85 billion years ago, emerging from chemicals in the air, water, and rock. Though the process is likely to have obeyed all the known physico-chemical laws, the exact details of the origin of life pose one of the fundamental questions of science. How did the transformation from non-living chemicals to living cells occur? While the question is (deceivingly) simple, the answers are proving to be unquestionably complex. Scientific principles inevitably play a key role in any discussion of life's origins, dealing less with the question of why life appeared on Earth than with where, when, and how it emerged on the seemingly hostile surface of our primitive planet.