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origins of life
Starfish Whisperer Develops a Physical Language of Life
Nikta Fakhri is adapting and extending concepts from physics to describe how tiny biological components give rise to living organisms.
Inside Ancient Asteroids, Gamma Rays Made Building Blocks of Life
A new radiation-based mechanism adds to the ways that amino acids could have been made in space and brought to the young Earth.
The Year in Biology
Momentum for new ideas in Alzheimer’s research joined advances in neuroscience, developmental biology and origin-of-life studies to make 2022 a memorable year of biological insights.
A Biochemist’s View of Life’s Origin Reframes Cancer and Aging
The biochemist Nick Lane thinks life first evolved in hydrothermal vents where precursors of metabolism appeared before genetic information. His ideas could lead us to think differently about aging and cancer.
What Is Life?
Without a good definition of life, how do we look for it on alien planets? Steven Strogatz speaks with Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and astrobiologist, and Sheref Mansy, a chemist, to learn more.
How Could Life Evolve From Cyanide?
How did life arise on Earth? Steven Strogatz speaks with the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Jack Szostak and Betül Kaçar, a paleogeneticist and astrobiologist, to explore our best understanding of how we all got here.
Life’s First Peptides May Have Grown on RNA Strands
RNA and peptides coevolving in the primordial world might have jointly served as a precursor to the modern ribosome.
In Test Tubes, RNA Molecules Evolve Into a Tiny Ecosystem
When researchers gave a genetic molecule the ability to replicate, it evolved over time into a complex network of “hosts” and “parasites” that both competed and cooperated to survive.
Deep Curiosity Inspires The Joy of Why Podcast
The noted mathematician and author Steven Strogatz explains how the conversations with experts in his new Quanta Magazine podcast address his lifelong fascination with timeless mysteries.