The Origin of Life on Land: revisiting Darwin's warm little pond

The Origin of Life on Land: revisiting Darwin's warm little pond
29 Jan 2020 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Free Public Seminar

In what environment did life begin on Earth? In a letter to a friend, Charles Darwin suggested life first started in some “warm little pond” full of the organic building blocks and energy needed to create life. Since then, the discovery of deep sea hydrothermal vents, also known as black smokers, has led scientists to considered the deep ocean as the possible environment in which life got started.

However, a revolution in science is now under way with accumulating evidence that life may have actually originated not in the ocean after all but in an updated version of Darwin's pond: land-based hot spring pools. A novel scenario combining chemistry and computer science developed by David Deamer and Bruce Damer at the University of California, Santa Cruz together with new Australian fossil evidence discovered by UNSW researchers Martin Van Kranendonk and Tara Djokic has provided some of the foundations for this revolution.

During this public seminar, Deamer and Damer will present the dramatic scientific story of the quest to solve one of the great mysteries of science. With their UNSW colleagues they will suggest how life might start on other worlds and how this is inspiring a next generation of space missions to discover evidence for life beyond the Earth. A Q&A will follow, providing the audience the opportunity to engage with the presenters.

Wednesday 29 January 2020
6pm-8pm
The Law Theatre
UNSW Kensington

This free event is hosted by UNSW Science at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

Register here