Origin of Life: by Chance or by Design?. Chris Macosko Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Autobiogenesis: Spontaneous Origin of Life. Oparin, Haldane, 1930’s. Biology G.B.Johnson and R.H.Raven, 1996. Biology Biggs et. al. Glencoe Pub. 2004. Chap 14.2. Heat.
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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Proteins and nucleic acids
Biochemistry D. Voet & J.G. Voet Wiley 2004
The Origin of Life and the Crystallization of Aspartic Acid in Water
Tu Lee* and Yu Kun Lin
Department of Chemical
and Materials Engineering,
National Central University,
Cryst. Growth & Design 2010
Star Tribune Sept 28, 2012
The influence of the Marxist theoretical concept of dialectical materialism, part of the Communist Party's official interpretation of Marxism, fit Oparin's definition of life as 'a flow, an exchange, a dialectical unity'. This notion was enforced by Oparin's association with Lysenko.
Chemistry graduate student at University of Chicago
Spontaneous Origin of Life
Research into 1970’s supportive
Oparin, Haldane, 1930’s
Viking 1 Lander July 20, 1976.
Primary objectives of the Viking missions
- obtain high-resolution images of the Martian surface,
- characterize the atmosphere and surface
- search for evidence of life on Mars.
—H. Clemmey and N. Badham
“Oxygen in the precambrian atmosphere: An evaluation of the geological evidence.”
Geology 10(3), 145 (March 1982).
“No geological or geochemical evidence collected in the last 30 years favors a strongly reducing primitive atmosphere…Only the success of the laboratory experiments recommends it.”
“Origin of life: new ingredients suggested.”
Science 210(4465), 42 (October 3, 1980).
N = 100-300
How many ways to arrange 100 amino acids,
5 of each type?
W= # arrangements =
10115 different peptides <105 useful for life
age of Earth?
fastest chemical reaction
Can Random Reactions Produce a Protein?
How long will it take to create a particular polypeptide?
10115 possible structures
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Proposed Reaction Rates
Si = species i
S = all species
p = all parameters
Ej = enzyme j
408 Chemical Species
1,176 Reaction Parameters
and still could not survive in nature
temperature, no cell wall
must feed 31 chemicals
“The largest stumbling block in bridging the gap between nonliving and living still remains. All living cells are controlled by information stored in DNA, which is transcribed in RNA and then made into protein.
This is a very complicated system, and each of these three molecules requires the other two--either to put it together or to help it work. DNA, for example, carries information but cannot put that information to use, or even copy itself without the help of RNA and protein.”
Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine, Biology: The Living Science (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall), 1998, p.406-407.
Theory of Panspermia –
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe 1980’s
the chemical origin of life is a lot more difficult than we first imaged
Father of 'Origin of Life’Chemistry Dies
May 21, 2007
National Geographic 1998
The world looks more beautiful to a scientist.
Science teaches humility.
This comes from an understanding
of what we do not know.
Belief in a Creator has energized the greatest scientists.