A chemical engineering perspective on the origins of life

Martha A. Grover, Christine Y. He, Ming Chien Hsieh, Sheng Sheng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atoms and molecules assemble into materials, with the material structure determining the properties and ultimate function. Human-made materials and systems have achieved great complexity, such as the integrated circuit and the modern airplane. However, they still do not rival the adaptivity and robustness of biological systems. Understanding the reaction and assembly of molecules on the early Earth is a scientific grand challenge, and also can elucidate the design principles underlying biological materials and systems. This research requires understanding of chemical reactions, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, optimization, and control. Thus, the discipline of chemical engineering can play a central role in advancing the field. In this paper, an overview of research in the origins field is given, with particular emphasis on the origin of biopolymers and the role of chemical engineering phenomena. A case study is presented to highlight the importance of the environment and its coupling to the chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-338
Number of pages30
JournalProcesses
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1

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Chemical engineering
Biological systems
Biopolymers
Molecules
Fluid mechanics
Biological materials
Integrated circuits
Chemical reactions
Mass transfer
Earth (planet)
Aircraft
Thermodynamics
Heat transfer
Atoms

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

Cite this

Grover, Martha A. ; He, Christine Y. ; Hsieh, Ming Chien ; Yu, Sheng Sheng. / A chemical engineering perspective on the origins of life. In: Processes. 2015 ; Vol. 3, No. 2. pp. 309-338.
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A chemical engineering perspective on the origins of life. / Grover, Martha A.; He, Christine Y.; Hsieh, Ming Chien; Yu, Sheng Sheng.

In: Processes, Vol. 3, No. 2, 01.06.2015, p. 309-338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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