Physics and the Origin of Life
Jack W. Szostak, Harvard University
Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine 2009
Host: Young-Kee Kim
September 30, 2021
3:30PM - 4:30PM
Register HERE to confirm your in person seat, or to receive the Zoom link. Limited in person seating. Please register early.
In person: Maria Goeppert-Mayer Lecture Hall (KPTC 106), 5720 S Ellis Ave
Virtual: Join via Zoom.
A wide range of physical processes played important roles in the origin of life. On a planetary scale, large impacts both altered the chemistry of the atmosphere and created surface environments that may have nurtured the earliest forms of life. On a smaller scale, freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycles concentrated dilute chemicals and drove important reactions; the crystallization of key compounds created reservoirs of organic minerals and may also have led to the molecular asymmetry (or homochirality) that is a hallmark of life. Finally, at an even smaller scale, the operation of Darwinian evolution led to the gradual accumulation of the information, digitally encoded in the sequences of RNA and DNA molecules, that is an essential characteristic of biology.