The Physics of the Emergence of Life

30 August – 17 September 2021

Dieter Braun, Job Boekhoven, Paola Caselli, Barbara Ercolano, Erwin Frey, Ulrich Gerland, Oliver Trapp

How life originated on Earth is one of the deepest (and unanswered) questions of humankind. Answers to it will directly connect to another puzzle: are we alone or could life originate elsewhere in the Universe? While the general question is age-old, progress in diverse fields now makes the origins of life problem much more amenable to the scientific method: through astronomical observations and by bottom-up lab experiments that combine astrochemistry, geology, theory, physics and biochemistry.

However, continued progress requires vigorous interdisciplinary dialogue between different fields and a productive engagement between experiments and theory.

The ultimate aim is to uncover the beginning of biology. Life is abundant around us - plants, microbes, larger animals. This was not the case on early Earth. What processes could allow non-living matter to create the evolutionary machinery of replication, mutation and selection? How could life establish itself so robustly? Even though life on earth likely emerged slowly over billions of years, discovering the combination of mechanisms that enable the emergence of self-reproduction and capacity to evolve in the lab may well be possible on human timescales.

The Molecular Origins of Life, Munich conference

The conference will be held from 26th - 27th August 21 in Munich.

The Molecular Origins of Life, Munich conference addresses one of the most fundamental questions of science: How could life originate? With 24 talks by renown scientists accompanied by discussion sessions and a new virtual element, this international conference brings together scientists from wide range of disciplines, namely: astrophysics, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, geosciences and theoretical physics. Only the combined effort from various disciplines can be successful in retracing the origins of life under experimental conditions and pave the way towards answering some of the most pertinent questions: What were the conditions on early Earth? Which chemicals could serve as precursors for the synthesis of living systems on Earth and/or on other planets? How did the very first genetic material in life forms develop? How could Darwinian evolution emerge? What were the first metabolic pathways? The conference's aim is to represent and to discuss the state of the art in the Origin of Life field. 

To register for the conference click here.


The Molecular Origins of Life, Munich 2021 is sponsored by DFG funded Collaborative Research Center 235 Emergence of Life and the attendance to the event is free of charge.