PHYS 434 Astrophysics: Origins of Life

Dermott Mullan

Develops fundamental concepts of astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology in order to identify conditions that may have helped life to originate in the young Earth, and to determine other environments in which those conditions might have occurred in the course of planetary evolution. Attention paid to (1) current cosmology, (2) generation of chemical elements necessary for life, (3) basics of chemistry prior to appearance of life, (4) steps in molecular evolution which could have led to cellular life, and (5) identification of most extreme conditions in which life known to exist, with a survey of where these conditions may arise in solar system and beyond.