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Event Details 
Science Pop-Up Talks - The Scientific Quest for the Origin of Life
By Professor Nick Hud, Georgia Institute of Technology The principles of evolution are extremely powerful for understanding the relationship between extinct life forms found in the fossil record and contemporary life. The same principles are also helping us to understand the chemical origins of life, for which there are no clues in the fossil record. The search for the identity of the molecules that first gave rise to life is largely driven by researchers using what are called “bottom up” approaches, studies that often involve laboratory experiments designed to model environments and chemical reactions that are believed to have existed on earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. In contrast, researchers using “top down” approaches draw upon information provided by studies of living cells and their genes to reveal the evolutionary history of living organisms. A major goal of origins research is to use our knowledge of chemical and biological evolution to uncover a plausible and continuous path from small, abiotic molecules to living cells, a path that would link the discoveries of bottom-up and top-down researchers. Advances made during the past few years are showing the power of these two approaches, and how this combined effort may ultimately reveal the origin of life. Nicholas Hud is Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also Director of the NSF-NASA Center for Chemical Evolution. Prof. Hud has studied the physical properties of DNA and RNA (the chemical sibling of DNA) for over twenty-five years. His research has produced insights regarding the packaging and functioning of DNA in living cells and viruses. Over the past decade, Prof. Hud’s research has become increasingly focused on questions related to the origin of life, and particularly the origin of RNA and polypeptides. Experiments carried out in his laboratory have provided several clues to how the first molecules of life could have spontaneously formed on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. Prof. Hud received his B.S. degree from Loyola Marymount University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. He conducted postdoctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at UCLA.
Event Type : Study Groups      
Category : Science Pop-Up Talks
Date(s) : 03/25/2021
Day of Week : Thursday
Time : 1:00 - 2:30 PM
Location : Online
Instructor : Varied, see description
Fee : $10.00
Event Status : COMPLETED