Emergence of Information in Molecular Systems (MOLINFO)

22 July - 2 August 2024

Ulrich Gerland, Job Boekhofen, Aleksandra Walczak

Likely pathways from the inanimate to the animate world involve a transition that can be thought of as the emergence of information in molecular systems. Before this transition, heteropolymers already exist, but the sequence information of a polymer does not persist beyond the lifetime of the polymer. During the transition, information becomes a separate dynamical entity, which lives and changes over longer timescales than its carrier molecules. This transition does not necessarily require the existence of a full-fledged replication machinery, such as polymerase enzymes that copy informational polymers. Instead, the interplay of simpler reactions can create strong correlations in pools of informational polymers, which can also decouple the timescales of the informational dynamics from those of the polymer dynamics. This interplay is only beginning to be studied, experimentally as well as computationally and theoretically, such that many conceptual and methodological questions are currently open. The central aim of this workshop is to bring together scientists with different backgrounds, in order to attack these questions together.