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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Origins of Life for taking us
step-by-step through the evolution of life on Earth.

Origins of Life
Lectures by Professor Robert M. Hazen

Origins of Life (2005) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Origins of Life at TheGreatCourses.com

Four billion years ago, the infant Earth was a seething cauldron of erupting volcanoes, raining meteors, and hot noxious gases, totally devoid of life. But a relatively short time later - 100 to 200 million years - the planet was teeming with primitive organisms. What happened?

Professor Robert M. Hazen, one of the nation's foremost science educators and leader of a NASA-supported team that is studying the origins of life in the universe, leads you on a 24-lecture expedition to find the answer to this momentous question.

The search takes you from path-breaking experiments in the 19th century proving that the molecules of life are no different from other chemicals, to the increasingly sophisticated understanding in the 20th century of how the chemistry of life works, to the near certainty that the 21st century will see spectacular and unpredictable developments in our understanding of how life began.

From Simple Chemistry to DNA

For all its familiarity, life is an elusive concept that is hard to define, much less explain. This course shows how scientists are systematically building a picture of the process by which chemical reactions on the early Earth eventually led to the first appearance of the DNA-protein world that remains the fundamental basis of all life today.

Dr. Hazen's own work makes him the perfect guide to present key ideas and controversies in this research, and to introduce you to the most important scientists working in the field - many of whom he knows personally. Under his guidance, you will join researchers as they seek to establish the earliest appearance of life on Earth, as they grapple to explain how it arose, and as they probe for evidence of life beyond our planet.

Dr. Hazen is a superb science teacher, whose previous course for The Teaching Company, The Joy of Science, earned this accolade in AudioFile magazine: "From the very beginning, one recognizes the gift of Professor Hazenàto make science easy to understand."

This course is crammed with fascinating experiments, surprising results, heated debates, blind alleys, and promising leads. It is a mystery story in the truest sense - one in which the clues are slowly adding up but the solution is not yet in hand.

Not Your Usual Science Course

Professor Robert M. Hazen is Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University and a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He Received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Geology from MIT and a Ph. D in Earth Science from Harvard University. Among his many awards is the Education Press Association Award. His 15 books include the best selling Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy. He has written over 220 scholarly articles.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: The Grand Question of Life's Origins 13: More Experiments Under Pressure
2: The Historical Setting of Origins Research 14: Deep Space Dust, Molten Rock, and Zeolite
3: What Is Life? 15: Macromolecules and the Tree of Life
4: Is There Life on Mars? 16: Lipids and Membrane Self-Organization
5: Earth's Oldest Fossils 17: Life on Clay, Clay as Life
6: Fossil Isotopes 18: Life's Curious Handedness
7: Molecular Biosignatures 19: Self-Replicating Molecular Systems
8: Emergence 20: Günter Wächtershäuser's Grand Hypothesis
9: The Miller-Urey Experiment 21: The RNA World
10: Life from the Bottom of the Sea 22: The Pre-RNA World
11: The Deep, Hot Biosphere 23: Natural Selection and Competition
12: Experiments at High Pressure 24: Three Scenarios for the Origin of Life


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Origins of Life
Lectures by Professor Robert M. Hazen

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Origins of Life for taking us
step-by-step through the evolution of life on Earth.