Origin: Polymerization on the Rocks, From Geochemistry to Biochemistry
Prof Chris Greenwell
Professor in Geochemistry, Durham University
7:30pm, Wednesday 28th April.
#CyberSciBar is a series of free, online science-themed talks.
Humankind has long looked back and sought to understand it’s place in the Universe. As scientific method developed, simple experiments began to probe the constraints on life and understand where it can exist, and, indeed, how life may be defined. The understanding that organic molecules, biomolecules, could be made without needing a vital force, followed by the discovery of the structure and function of our genetic material has led to the study of the origin of life becoming a respectable and growing field of research.
In this CyberSciBar talk, some of the key ideas that underpin our understanding of how the early geosphere paved the way for the early biosphere will be explored. In order for simple proto-biomolecules to develop into larger, more complex and functional biochemistry, several challenges need to be addressed. The last decade has seen a number of studies by the speaker and colleagues, where layered minerals have been found to act in a surprisingly “biological-like” manner. The way in which these minerals act as concentrating agents, templates and catalysts will be explored, and how this moves us towards a better understanding from the transition from geology to biology.