Conference: In the beginning it was dark (25/9/2014)
For its 200th edition of LES JEUDIS DES SCIENCES the University of Luxembourg is inviting together with the National Museum of Natural History on 25th September 2014 at 17.30 to the conference “In the beginning it was dark: Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life” by William Martin from the University of Düsseldorf, Germany. The conference will take place at the auditorium B02 of Campus Kirchberg.
Life is an energy-releasing chemical reaction. In all living systems, there is a main chemical reaction at the core of biochemistry that allows the process of life to go forward. At the origin of life there also must have been a main chemical reaction, too. Newer findings show remarkable similarity between spontaneous geochemical reactions that take place at some kinds of hydrothermal vents and the core chemical reactions at the heart of biochemistry in some groups of anaerobic prokaryotes. This sheds light on early evolution and suggests a rather specific (yet possible) sequence of bioenergetic events at life’s origin.
William Martin studied biology at TU Hannover and holds a PhD in genetics from the University of Cologne. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the MPI für Züchtungsforschung in Cologne and at TU Braunschweig. Since 1999 he has been a professor for Ecological plant physiology, and later for Molecular evolution a the University of Düsseldorf. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology and an elected member of the Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften and of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). He was awarded the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize of the DFG in 1990 and the Miescher-Ishida Prize of the International Society of Endocytobiology in 1998, and received an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in 2008. He is the (co-)author of some 250 scientific publications, has edited two books and holds two patents.