About Event

Fri 5 Apr 2024


Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218


12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT


The origin of life on Earth is one of the fundamental questions of science.  A critical issue is how and when biomolecules, such as building blocks of RNA and proteins, appeared after Earth formed.  These molecules could have formed in the solar nebula or in planetesimals and delivered to early Earth during its formation. Planet based processes include small molecule chemistry in the post impacted, reducing atmosphere of young Earth and that rained products into warm little ponds, or in undersea hydrothermal vents.  Whatever the environment, hydrogen cyanide is the basic feedstock molecule for these biomolecules (as in the famous Miller-Urey experiment) and its origin is central to the problem.  I shall discuss recent progress in pre-biotic chemistry, numerical simulations, and experiments that address these different routes to biomolecule and RNA polymer formation. These scenarios have very different implications for the origin of life on Earth – and for the  search for life on the recently discovered, Earth-like exoplanets.

Speaker: Ralph Pudritz (McMaster University Canada)


Talks are held in the STScI John N. Bahcall Auditorium. Light lunch (provided) starts at 12pm; talk starts at 12:30pm.

Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series presentations are also webcast live. Webcasts can be viewed at the STScI webcast site during the scheduled presentation, and can be found afterward in the STScI webcast archive.

STScI is located in the Muller Building on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus. View a JHU map and directions.


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