Thursday, March 31, 2011

Primordial Soup - gotta love it.

I am continually surprised by people not being aware of the primordial soup experiment. Way back in 1953 Stanley Miller bunged a whole heap of inorganic compounds and what not that were thought to be similar to the composition of pre-biotic earth together and let them stew. And out of it (after a while) came some amino acids and some other organic compounds - things that life are built from. One of his students has just re-run an analysis on the left over soup and revealed, with todays more sensitive equipment, a much bigger variety of organic compounds than was previously detected. It was a cool enough experiment when it was first done. Even cooler now.

As an aside, another thing that surprises me - people asking biologists to explain how life began. Life began in a pre-biotic environment i.e. somewhere where there was no life. Biologists study life, thus, I would think, making them the wrong people to ask. Seriously, if you want to know about how life began (and there are some very convincing models of how it was possible) you should be asking chemists, physicists and mathematicians (information theory and statistical ones).

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about this either. I thought 'primordial soup' was just a sort of thought experiment. Thanks!