For The Curious Mind: How Did Life on Earth Begin? ft. Ben K.D. Pearce

Presented on: Friday, May 10th at 12:00 PM EDT

For The Curious Mind

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Before the first organism on the tree of life, there was another, simpler lifeform which inhabited the Earth. This lifeform bridged the evolutionary gap between basic non-living organic molecules, and the DNA/protein-based organisms we see today. In this short lecture, Ben K.D. Pearce will describe the earliest lifeforms on our planet, the particular environments where they emerged, and the astrophysical sources which seeded them for life. Ben K.D. Pearce is a PhD Candidate in Astrobiology and Astrophysics at McMaster University whose research is trying to uncover how life began on our young planet. It was Darwin who first imagined warm little ponds as the sites for the origin of life; Ben's interest is in how the building blocks of life arrived there. Did meteorites and their organic-rich interiors seed these ponds for life? Or did the building blocks form within these ponds? Ben builds numerical models of early Earth environments to help uncover the secrets of this story.