Past Events

  • 2011 Dec 01

    The Chemical Origin of Life

    9:00am

    Location: 

    Biological Laboratories, 16 Divinity Ave., BL Room #1058, Cambridge, MA

    Heiko Lange (Dept. of Chemistry & Chemical Biology/Whitesides Lab)

  • 2011 May 18

    Going to Extreme: Life as we know it

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Geo Museum, 24 Oxford Street, Haller Hall, Rm. 102, Cambridge, MA

    Jocelyne DiRuggiero (Johns Hopkins University)

    Microorganisms have inhabited the Earth for 3.4 billion years of its history, there are essential for the evolution of its minerals, its major geochemical cycles, and its atmosphere, and therefore we cannot consider the evolution of our planet without considering the evolution of its microorganisms. In addition, planets and moons explored thus far harbor extreme environmental conditions where it is more likely to find microorganisms than any other form of life. I will present recent findings on the...

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  • 2011 Apr 20

    Metabolism and Motility in Prebiotic Structures

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Geo Museum, 24 Oxford Street, Haller Hall, Rm. 102, Cambridge, MA

    Martin Hanczyc (University of Southern Denmark)

    Easily accessible, primitive chemical structures produced by self-assembly of hydrophobic substances into oil droplets may result in self-moving agents able to sense their environment and move to avoid equilibrium. These structures would constitute very primitive examples of life on Earth, even more primitive than simple bilayer vesicle structures. A few examples of simple chemical systems are presented that self-organize to produce oil droplets capable of movement, environment remodeling, and primitive chemotaxis....

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  • 2011 Mar 23

    Equipping Planets for Life

    4:00pm

    Location: 

    Geo Museum, 24 Oxford Street, Haller Hall, Rm. 102, Cambridge, MA

    Ralph Pudritz (McMaster University)

    The Kepler observatory is driving a major scientific revolution in our knowledge of exoplanetary systems. Among the key results is the discovery that Earth-like planets are reasonably common around a variety of stars. Do such worlds support life as we know it? How are the pre-biotic conditions that may lead to life established on planets? To explore this, I will first review some of the basic physical astrophysical and geophysical processes that build planets and provide them with water and biomolecules such as amino acids. I will...

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