Oxygen brings stones to life

Oxygen is essential for life on Earth. Experiments by researchers from the VU University Amsterdam and the Centre for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research (HPSTAR) in China now show that oxygen is also essential for melting rocks. The more oxygen you add to a rock, the easier it is to make magma. The … Continued

Sijbren Otto receives James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry

Prof. Sijbren Otto of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and member of the Steering Committee of the Origins Center Netherlands has been awarded the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. He receives the award for his leading contribution to establishing the field of systems chemistry. Otto studies ‘chemical … Continued

How did life emerge? – Onbehaarde apen (podcast NRC)

About 4.6 billion years ago, the Earth was formed, and surprisingly, it didn’t take very long for life to develop on the planet. What do we know about this early life on Earth that started all life on Earth? And how do you investigate the origins of something so long ago. Both scientific approaches of … Continued

Hubble’s big brother heading for space

After years of waiting, the time has come in mid-December: the James Webb Space Telescope will be launched. This infrared big brother of the Hubble Telescope is going to greatly increase our knowledge of many areas within astronomy. From the chemical composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets to the formation of the first galaxies shortly … Continued

Book: Why your dog doesn’t need to eat fruit

DNA, the hereditary code, is the basis of everything that lives. Knowledge in this field is growing by leaps and bounds – but unfortunately it is not easily accessible to non-biologists. This Dutch book changes all that. Using numerous examples, author Ken Kraaijeveld takes the reader into the wonderful world of DNA, from modifying agricultural … Continued

Death enables complexity in chemical evolution

Simple systems can reproduce faster than complex ones. So, how can the complexity of life have arisen from simple chemical beginnings? Starting with a simple system of self-replicating fibres, the Otto research group at the University of Groningen have discovered that upon introducing a molecule that attacks the replicators, the more complex structures have an … Continued

It is busy on Mars

Three space probes appeared near Mars this month. The United Arab Emirates sent a weather satellite to spend at least two years mapping the atmosphere and weather around Mars. China also sent a satellite and a rover. That rover will land in about three months. Last week, Mars rover Perseverance landed successfully. It will work … Continued

Is all the DNA on Earth right-handed thanks to cosmic particles?

There is something troubling about all the people, animals, plants and even the microbes on Earth.At first glance, they appear normal, but on the inside, they all have the same anomaly: the molecular building blocks are almost without exception left-handed, and the heredity molecule DNA invariably twists clockwise, as if the architect of life could … Continued

Inside a cell, enzymes cannot go faster

New research funded by the National Science Agenda Growth forms the heart of living cells. About 1,000 chemical reactions take place in a cell – this is what we also refer to as metabolism. Nutrients are converted into energy or building blocks for growth. The research groups of Matthias Heinemann, Siewert-Jan Marrink, Bert Poolman, Dirk-Jan … Continued

New rock samples collected from the moon

[translation will be posted as soon as possible] De Chinese maanmissie Chang’e-5 brengt komende week 2 kilogram van de jongste maangesteenten naar de aarde. 44 jaar geleden werd de laatste keer een steenmonster van de maan verzameld. “Er wordt reikhalzend uitgekeken naar deze nieuwe monsters omdat ze ons veel kunnen vertellen over de vorming van … Continued

Evolution in the Top 2000

Colleagues at the Laboratory of Genetics at Wageningen University have a dream to raise public awareness of evolution through getting the theme into the Top 2000! But how? Well, with your help, of course! The song is already selected, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Nightwish. Now you just need to vote and spread the word. This song … Continued

In memoriam: Arecibo radio telescope 1963–2020

De Arecibo-telesoop is een van de beroemdste telescopen ter wereld. Afgelopen dagen is de iconische radiotelescoop van Arecibo is volledig ingestort. Eerder dit jaar raakte de telescoop al zo zwaar beschadigd dat men heeft besloten om hem af te breken. Hoe werd deze telescoop zo beroemd, wat is er allemaal mee ontdekt, en staat dit … Continued

Astronomers find phosphine in Venus atmosphere. What’s Next?

In the earth’s atmosphere, oxygen quickly breaks down all the phosphorous compounds. This does not happen in the Venus atmosphere because it consists almost entirely of carbon dioxide. However, it is very surprising that the phosphorus compound phosphine with the JCMT and ALMA telescopes was found in that atmosphere. The presence of phosphine cannot yet … Continued

Want more visitors to your blog or vlog?

We are happy to disseminate relevant blogs, vlogs or social media on the origins and evolution of life for you. We publish it in the Top Stories on our website and mention it in the newsletter for the general public.  Please send us the url of relevant and recent blogs or vlogs via the button … Continued

Focus on your scientific publication(s)

Relevant and recent publications on the origins and evolution of life are circulated to the 300 members of the Origins Center via the newsletter. And we include the publication in our website. Please send us the url of relevant and recent publications. Not older than roughly 2 years old, from (co-) authors working in a … Continued

New Knowledge Network

We invite you to consider whether the current six Knowledge Networks can be expanded with new ones. The Knowledge Networks meet a few times a year (online) and discuss challenges and ideas in their field. The aim is to stay sharp together in the long run and to formulate research proposals when the time is … Continued

Monthly webinar on Tuesday afternoon

Let us know if you would like to listen to an important researcher with broad experience in researching the origins and evolution of life. The speaker does not need to be Dutch. We are looking for people with inspiring experience and people who can speak well. Learn more Let us know your ideas via the … Continued

The discovery of TRAPPIST-1: searching for liveable planets

Met zijn zeven aardachtige planeten haalde het planetenstelsel TRAPPIST-1 onlangs het wereldnieuws. Drie van deze planeten liggen namelijk in de zogenoemde leefbare zone van hun moederster. Daarmee bedoelen astronomen dat water er in vloeibare vorm zou kunnen voorkomen. Maar wat komt er nog meer kijken bij het zoeken naar leefbare planeten? Aan de hand van … Continued

Life on other planets: closer than you think?

Zijn wij alleen in het heelal? Of komt er ook op andere planeten leven voor? Hier bestaan al heel veel televisieseries, films en boeken over, maar wetenschappers zijn er ook mee bezig. Wat zijn nu de plekken met de meeste kans op leven? En kunnen we daar ooit naartoe? Astronoom Floris van der Tak legt … Continued


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