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4 novembre 2014: T. Bellini: Can science explain the origin of life?

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PhD Seminars 2014


Tommaso Bellini (Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Mediche e Medicina Traslazionale)

Can science explain the origin of life?


Martedì 4 novembre 2014, ore 16.30

Sala Seminari, Dipartimento di Filosofia, sottotetto.


La conferenza sarà tenuta in inglese.

La partecipazione all’incontro è fortemente consigliata consigliata agli allievi della Scuola di Dottorato in Filosofia e Scienze dell’Uomo.



How life would have emerged on our early planet has stimulated thoughts and fantasies throughout human history and it is a topic of current scientific investigation. Recent discoveries have significantly modified the perspective on the origin of life with respect to the enthusiasms of the 50s and 60s that followed Miller’s experiments. It is now commonly considered highly implausible - if not impossible - that random molecular collision could have produced biomolecules. This notion has stimulated interest in identifying phenomena that could have possibly guided the way toward molecular complexity. 

In this vein, many research groups are currently investigating the collective behavior of simpler molecules, searching for patters of self-organization that could promote their combination in complex architectures. 

This approach is based on the notion that the structure of the current constituents of life could in itself suggest their origin.

The seminar will introduce the topic and describe one of the current paths of research.

It will become apparent how much the investigation on the origin of life requires to overcome traditional disciplinary gaps. 

In particular, two broad questions, touching science and philosophy, emerge from this study. 

First, the intrinsic difficulty in defining life becomes, in this study, quite obvious, making the whole goal of the field an object of research in itself. 

Second, the very notion of scientific explanation, when applied to events belonging to ancient history, becomes intriguing and worth exposing. 

04 novembre 2014
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