Chem Connections


Origin of Life on Earth

Origin Image


ajor events in the origin and evolution of life will be examined from a chemical perspective, including the formation of the solar system, the first reproducing molecules, the evolution of metabolism, and the search for extra-terrestrial life.

3 (3-4 hr) labs, 9 1-hr class sessions

Prerequisites: Level I
Initial Testing: Fall '97
Tool Kit: Equilibrium, Dynamics, Energetics, Data Anaylsis, Critical Thinking
Topics: Le Chatelier's principle, solubility, redox reactions, reaction rates, catalysis, entropy, free energy, nuclear reactions, evaluating reliability, analysis of the impact of the results on society, library searching, evaluating the reliability of information, dealing with ambiguity, deduction and inference
Interdisciplinary aspects: Atmospheric Science, Environmental Chemistry
University of California, San Diego
Stanley L. Miller, smiller@ucsd.edu
Jason P. Dworkin
Paul G. Jasien, CSU San Marcos
Interdisciplinary consultants and Co-authors:
Jeffrey Bada, SIO
J. William Schopf, UCLA

Description

This module will reinforce and extend the chemical concepts learned in Level I by exposing the student (and possibly the professor) to theories of the origin of life. Major events in the origin and evolution of life will be examined from a chemical perspective, including the formation of the solar system, the first reproducing molecules, the evolution of metabolism, and the search for extra-terrestrial life. The concepts involved in these theories are inherently interdisciplinary and should interest and aid students, not only in chemistry, but in biology, geology and physics. In addition, this module will show students that chemistry is a dynamic field with many questions not yet answered.

Materials to be developed

Multimedia Materials

  • WWW site containing course material
  • Slide show
  • Video of spark discharge experiment

Standard Materials

  • Lab manual
  • Student Packet, including homework problems
  • Instructor's manual, including exam questions and demonstration instructions


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Last modified: 7/20/02 at 5:59 PM