The Molecular Origins of Life I

  • Type: Lecture (V)
  • Chair: KIT-Fakultäten - KIT-Fakultät für Chemie und Biowissenschaften
  • Semester: SS 2022
  • Place:

    30.41 Chemie-Hörsaal Nr. 2 (HS2)
    Chemie-Flachbau (EG)

  • Time:

    Thursdays, 11:30 - 13:00, from the 28th of April 2022 (weekly, 7 lectures)

    30.41 Chemie-Flachbau (EG)

  • Start: 28th April 2022
  • Lecturer: Dr. Zbigniew Pianowski
  • SWS: 1 SWS
  • Lv-No.: 5184
  • Information:


    Exam: Dienstag, den 19.Juli 2022, 10:00 Uhr – 11:00 Uhr Geb. 306, 1.OG, SR 20


    Please, also fill the "evaluation sheet", using the link below:

    Die Befragung ist ab jetzt bis 06.07.2022 08:00:00 geöffnet.

    Vielen Dank


    Lecture in hybrid format, participants can join on-site or online

    First lecture: 28. Apr. 2020, 7 lecture units: 28.04., 5.05., 12.05., 19.05., 02.06., 23.06. and 07.07.

    the lecture slides will be available for download shortly before the respective lecture.


    The link for all the lectures in Zoom (accessible without restrictions, also externally):


    Meeting ID: 889 5386 9641
    Access code: ea10BG



    Following topics will be discussed:

    Definitions of life – e.g. self-replicating chemical systems that use external energy sources to stay out of the equilibrium;

    The origin of atoms and simple molecules - how the Universe, stars, planets, and molecules building them were formed?

    Minimal requirements for a habitable environment – under which conditions the known forms of life can exist? Hypothetical other chemistries that could form living systems elsewhere;

    The primordial soup – what pool of biologically relevant molecules likely existed on the prebiotic Earth: the Miller-Urey experiment, the formose reaction, prebiotic syntheses of aminoacids, sugars, nucleic acids, nucleotides, and lipids, prebiotic polymerization;

    The origin of life – self-replicating systems, metabolism-first vs. gene-first, the “RNA world”, the origins of homochirality;

    Formation of protocells – enhancing RNA with polypeptides, establishment of the genetic code, DNA as the enhanced information storage, metabolic networks, membranes;

    From molecules to cells – LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor), information storage and function – split on different molecules, origins of the genetic code, metabolic networks and lipid membranes;

    The history of life on Earth – timeline for LUCA, beginning of photosynthesis and aerobic metabolism, Eukaryotes, multicellular life, extremophilic organisms, habitable worlds outside Earth – current status of knowledge, space exploration programs;