Do astrophysicists consider the probability of the right atoms coming together to lead to first life?

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Offline thedoc

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Jean  asked the Naked Scientists:
   Chris I am a retired scientist whose research work covered a range of disciplines and I'm still teaching. I do enjoy the program, I have only recently discovered it.  I like the approach and specially the honesty of saying when you don't know or there is uncertainty. Do you know whether the astrophysicists who speak so airily of the origins of life have any conception of how improbable it is that billions of atoms could all come together in one place in the right isomeric forms? I had to lecture isomerism and write a teaching program for organic Chemistry on the subject and it came as a surprise to me when I sat down and thought about it that one ribonucleotide has 64 structural possibilities. 4 chiral atoms, 2 ring sizes and C2 or C3 for the phosphate link. Even chemists seem not to consider it. The first chairman of Chemistry at Monash University was interested in looking for evidence of organic molecules in space but when he said to me he was looking for ribose and I said what ring size? he had not thought of it. yet the chemical synthesis of nucleotides is difficult because free ribose  has a six membered ring. Thank you for your work for better knowledge in Science       Jean Youatt

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/09/2016 03:53:02 by _system »


Offline alancalverd

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Like it or not, the observed probability of life evolving on this planet is (or at least once was) 1.

The distinguishing feature of life is that this local ripple in entropy only has to happen once in the entire spacetime for it to persist and expand, like a knot in a telephone cord.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance