Thermal forces to drive the chemistry of early Life

September, 26th
Versione stampabile

Venue: Edificio Povo 2, via Sommarive nr. 9, Povo (Tn) - Room B103
 At 11.30 a.m

  • Dieter Braun - Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich 

The Origin of Life is one of the fundamental, unsolved riddles of modern science. Life as we know it is a stunningly complex non-equi­librium process, keeping its entropy low against the second law of thermo­dynamics. It is straightforward to argue that first living systems had to start in a natural non-equilibrium setting.
Arguing along a chain of experimental evidences using non-equilibrium micro­systems we argue that geological temperature gradients across porous rock are able to drive molecular evolution, i.e. the combined replication and selection of genetic molecules towards ever increasing complexity. The experiments link non-equilibrium physics with chemical reactions and explore physical mechanisms such as phase transitions, thermophoresis, micro-convection and heat pipes to the replication of the first sequence information in DNA and RNA.
The experiments are part of a new DFG collaborative research center “Emergence of Life” in Munich. We think that only by combining the puzzle pieces from different scientists and disciplines will we be able to reconstruct the first steps of life in the lab.