Loren Williams speaks at ATL Science Tavern

Public Events

GT Biochemistry Professor Loren Williams will be presenting “Voyage from the Gates of the Hadean – Origins of Life Research at Georgia Tech” at the Atlanta Science Tavern on Saturday February 22, 2020 at 7pm at Manuel’s Tavern. Details and RSVP here and below.


– This event is a production of the Atlanta Science Tavern.
– It is free and open to the public.
– Seating is on a first-come basis.
– RSVPs are not required to attend nor do they reserve seats.
– Doors open at 6:00 pm for early arrival.
– Gather for dinner by 7:00.
– The evening’s presentation gets under way around 7:45.
– Parking at Manuel’s has changed; refer to the note below for details.

Loren Williams, Professor
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology

The origin of life (OOL) took place around 4 billion years ago, soon after the Earth cooled in the Hadean Eon. Water-based chemistry converted small building blocks to large polymeric molecules. Polymers have incredible properties, including ability to form assemblies. Polymers can assemble into compartments, fibers, enzymes and motors and can store and transduce information.

We have models, that are testable by experiment, to explain how increasing complexity of polymers led to simple microbial cells. For nearly 3 billion years microbes ruled the planet. Complex plants and animals are relatively recent branches on the tree of life.

The OOL can be studied from the bottom up (using chemical principles) or from the top down (mining information from biological systems). In this presentation I will discuss progress from long-running efforts at Georgia Tech that use both top-down and bottom-up approaches to unravel the OOL.

Consideration of OOL forces us to frame and confront the most profound and vexing questions in science and philosophy. The OOL tests our understanding of geological, chemical and biological principles and unsettles our sense of place in the universe.

M. Osburn – Seminar


3/13/2020:¬†“Journey to the Center of the Earth: Habitability and Geobiology of Distinct Subsurface Realms” Maggie Osburn (Northwestern)

T. Roche – Seminar


3/6/2020: “Prebiotic Plausibility: Pursuing Parsimony vs Precluding Possibilities” Tyler Roche (GT)

L. Williams – Seminar


2/28/2020: “RNA and Protein: A Match Made in the Hadean” Loren Williams¬†(GT)

M. Hecht – Seminar

Hecht seminar Feb 21

2/21/2020: “Sustaining Life with Genes and Proteins that did not Evolve in Earth” Michael Hecht (Princeton)

B. Burcar – Seminar

Burcur seminar Feb 14

2/14/2020: “The prebiotic phosphorylation problem and how insights from geochemistry can solve it” Bradley Burcar (GT)