Archive for the ‘Origins of Life’ Category

Organic molecules in interstellar dust clouds

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Molecule discovery suggests life could have started in space Focus: Science and Technology, Issue 275, December 2014 sciencefocus.com/ Summary and review of the above article An isopropyl cyanide molecule, the largest and most complex molecule to date found in interstellar space, has been discovered by the Atacama array in Chile. The discovery was located in a star-forming gas cloud. Dust in the cloud becomes heated, and chemical reactions on dust particles can give rise to complex molecules. Read more […]

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Paul Davies – living organims

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As a physicist, Paul Davies, starts by noting that living organisms represent a state of matter in a class apart from all other matter. The cell is the basic subunit of living matter, and is now understood to be full of nanomachines in the form of the organelles, cytoskeleton, receptors and synapses. Davies discusses Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as a possible objection to quantum involvement in brain processes. Uncertainty is a potential problem for living organisms, because replication requires Read more […]

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Quantum emergence of life

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Quantum Mechanics and Emergence Seth Lloyd In:  Quantum Aspects of Life  –  Eds. Derek Abbott, Paul Davies & Arun Pati   Imperial College Press   ISBN:  13: 978-1-84816-267-9 Quantum mechanics is regarded as having two features important for the emergence of a complex system such as life. First it is digital or discrete, in the sense of being composed of a finite number of distinguishable states. The second is randomness. Taking these two features together is interpreted to mean Read more […]

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Life begins undersea

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Life cooked up in undersea cauldrons Kate McAlpine (based on research by Christof Mast and Dieter Braun, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich) New Scientist, 29 May 2010 Christof Mast and Dieter Braun have performed experiments suggesting that DNA replication could have occurred in pores around the ocean floor hydrothermal vents that are frequently suggested as locations for the origin of life. In general short stands of DNA and loose nucleotides would have been too diluted in ordinary seawater Read more […]

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Life was inevitable

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Life was all but inevitable Catherine Brahic (based on research by Ernesto Di Mauro, Sapienza University of Rome) New Scientist, April 24 2010 A team led by Ernesto Di Mauro at Sapienza University of Rome may point a way to solving the problem of the origin of life on Earth. It is thought most likely that life developed from RNA replicators. The problem here has been as to how the first replicator emerged, with an impossibly high probability against the molecules of the first replicator Read more […]

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Quantum origin of life

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A quantum theory of the origin of life on Earth Zeeya Merali This recent article in the New Scientist revives a long-established idea that the origin of life on Earth could derive from a quantum process. The first to suggest this appears to have been Schrodinger in his 1944 book, ‘What is Life? The idea has been relaunched by Jonjoe McFadden of the University of Surrey UK, who has also proposed the idea of an electromagnetic field as a quantum substrata of consciousness. The proposal is Read more […]

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Genetic languages

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Towards understanding the origin of genetic languages Apoorva Patel Indian Institute of Science April 13 2007 In:  Quantum Aspects of Life  Eds.  Derek Abbott, Paul Davies, & Arun Pati The author views molecular biology as a nanotechnology and as a system for acquiring, processing and communicating information. The kinds of processing seen in DNA and in proteins are argued to be the optimal solutions for the information processing that they carry out. Patel stresses that Read more […]

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Conscious intention and brain activity

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Conscious Intention & Brain Activity Peter Haggard, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London  & Benjamin Libet Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, No. 11, 2001, pp. 47-63 Haggard advances the idea that conscious awareness of intention is linked to the choice of a specific action, rather than the initiation of an action process. Libet’s experiments had suggested that readiness potentials for action happened before the consciousness of volition to act. Read more […]

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Confabulation and determinism

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The reason I chose that one is … Based on Lars Hall & Petter Johansson New Scientist: 18 April 2009 This is really another in a long line of studies aimed at using the human propensity for confabulation to create an argument against the existence in freewill. This is not as clearly spelt out as usual in this article, but the refrain here about ‘driving a wedge between intentionality and actions’ is moving in the same direction. It does not require academic studies to tell us that confabulation Read more […]

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Quantum Mechanics and Emergence

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Seth Lloyd In:  Quantum Aspects of Life  –  Eds. Paul Davies & Arun Pati   Imperial College Press   ISBN:  13: 978-1-84816-267-9 Consciousness Online Quantum mechanics is regarded as having two features important for the emergence of a complex system such as life. First it is digital or discrete, in the sense of being composed of a finite number of distinguishable states. The second is randomness. Taking these two features together is interpreted to mean that the universe as Read more […]

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