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Dipartimento di


Seminario Hazen 17 maggio 2013

Prof. Robert Hazen

CarnegieInstitution of Washington  and George Mason University



Geochemical origins of life’s homochirality


Friday May 17, 2013, h 14:30

Aula B7- Via Celoria 26, Milano



Life arose on Earth as a geochemical process from the interaction of rocks, water, and gases. Prior to the origin of life, the necessary organic molecules had formed abundantly, but indiscriminately, both in space and on Earth. A major mystery of life’s origin is how an idiosyncratic subset of those diverse molecules was selected and concentrated from the prebiotic soup to form more complex structures leading to the development of life. Of special interest, both from a scientific and technological viewpoint, is the separation of left- from right-handed molecules – “chiral” molecules, which are hallmarks of living organisms. Rocks and minerals are likely to have played several critical roles in this selection, especially as templates for the adsorption and organization of these molecules. Our recent experimental and theoretical studies on interactions between crystals and organic molecules reveal that crystals with chiral surface structures may have facilitated the separation of left- and right-handed biomolecules – the possible origin of life’s distinctive homochirality.

Ospite: Gianni Dehò

17 maggio 2013
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