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Seminar WS 2012/13

Ursprung des Lebens (Origin of Life)

Welcome to the seminar "Origin of Life"!

When?: Di 12:15 - 14:00
Where?:CZ3, SR 129
Who: Wolfgang Weigand, PeterDittrich

Sprache / Language

The seminar will be held in English. Ausarbeitungen können auf Deutsch verfasst werden.


In this seminar we will study the origin of life from various perspectives depending on the background of the participating students. In particular we will focus on how the formal sciences and computational approaches can help in understanding the emergence of the first (proto-)life forms.

In the first part (Week 1 - Week 3) we will whatch and discuss video lectures by Maynard Smith, Altman, Deamer, Szostak and others.

  1. Lecture by Sidney Altman Sterling Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1989), delivers the Tetelman Fellowship Lecture on the origin of life.
  2. Lecture by John Maynard Smith Royal Institution Discourse (1995). In modern organisms, there is a division of labour between two kinds of molecule: DNA, which stores and transmits genetic information, and proteins, which do all the work. They are connected by the 'genetic code', whereby DNA specifies what kinds of proteins can be made. This process of translation is well understood, but it is far too complicated to have arisen by chance in the primitive oceans. How can this apparent paradox be resolved?
  3. Lecture by David Deaner (1:14h) Astrobiology - Origin of Life: self-Assembly, polymerization and replication
  4. Lecture by Jack W. Szostak (54:41) (Harvard/HHMI) Part 1: The Origin of Cellular Life on Earth
  5. G. Wächtershäuser

Papers Presented


16.10.2012   First meeting, Introduction
23.10.2012   Background: S. Altman & J. Maynard Smith 
30.10.2012   Background: D. Deamer
06.11.2012   Background: J. Szostak Part I+II
13.11.2012   Background: J. Szostak Part III 
20.11.2012   Background: G. Wächtershäuser
27.11.2012   preparation meeting for student's contribution
04.12.2012   Background: Autocatalytic Reactions
11.12.2012   Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions (Matthew)
18.12.2012   Student's presentation
08.01.2013   Student's presentation
15.01.2013   Student's presentation
22.01.2013   Student's presentation
29.01.2013   Student's presentation
05.02.2013   Closing Discussion

Possible topics: 
Autocatalytic reations
Origin of home-chirality  (cf. also Waechtershaeuser) 


-- PeterDittrich - 28 Sep 2012

Topic revision: r9 - 2014-10-09 - StephanRichter
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