When you hear prebiotic chemistry you immediately think large and complex molecules, present in all life forms on Earth, like proteins or nucleic acids. However, on the early earth the abundant molecules were more likely small and simple like cyanamide and glycoaldehyde. Elucidating a pathway from small and simple to large and complex is the main question of prebiotic chemistry. Current day synthetic chemistry has found an answer: separation methods, controlled reaction conditions and hordes of underpaid graduate students and postdocs. Prebiotic chemistry, not so much.
Who are the unsung heroes of the Early Earth? Whose toil led to proteins, DNA, and RNA only to be erased from extant biology? After all, history is written by the victors. Join us November 2nd to hear the story of the 2-aminoazoles: three closely related 5-membered heterocycles who could have shaped life as we know it.