Bridging between the Physical and Biological Worlds

Living and non-living systems are strikingly different. Yet the established principles of physics and chemistry seem unable to clarify the basis for that difference and a wide conceptual gulf continues to separate animate and inanimate. Science continues to struggle with two central questions regarding living systems: how was life able to emerge from non-life, and how can the evolutionary process be understood in more general physical/chemical terms. In recent years a newly emergent field of study termed Systems Chemistry has begun to make progress in advancing this research area. A primary goal: to fill the chemical void between simple molecular replicating systems and highly complex replicating systems, life. Our research effort within this area involves elucidating the physical and chemical principles governing replicating molecules and the networks they establish. Such study will hopefully help uncover the chemical roots of Darwinism, better connect the physical and biological sciences, and hopefully open up new avenues toward answering one of the most tantalizing of all scientific questions – how was life able to emerge from non-life?

Project leader(s):
  • Addy Pross (Department of Chemistry, Ben Gurion University)

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