How Did Life Begin?...

September 26, 2013
How Did Life Begin?...

"How did life begin" Are we alone in the Universe? We are the first generation in history to ask those as scientific rather than philosophical questions says Andrew Knoll, professor of natural history at Harvard. The question: How did life begin on Earth is one of the big unsolved questions humanity has always asked. Biology has been very good at describing how living organisms work, but not very good at answering what life is or how it could emerge from a non-organic, non-living world.

Asking these primary questions leads immediately to a subset of question such as how did the Earth form from cosmic building blocks in a way that could support life? What specific habitat conditions does life require to emerge? How do inorganic molecules morph into living organisms --replicating, organizing into cells, then grow and evolve? Enter Martin Nowak, professor of mathematics and biology and a member of Harvard's Origins of Life Initiative, who say that life is an engine propelled by evolution.

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Image: © 2007 Erik Jacobs, Jacobs Photographic
See also: 2013