Professor Lee Cronin delivered a lecture as part of the prestigious TED Global Conference in Edinburgh recently.
Cronin and his research group studies complex self-organising inorganic chemical systems with an ambitious aim: to recreate in the lab the conditions in which life on Earth emerged.
His work on non-biological self-assembling structures, such as polyoxometalates, is producing a growing list of research papers, with the ultimate aim of creating artificial life from non-biological chemistries that mimic the behaviour of natural cells.
He presented his research to a gathering of some of the world’s leading academics, scientists, artists and thinkers at the conference in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 12 July.
Cronin, of the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, said: ’Basically one of my longstanding research goals is to understand how life emerged on planet Earth and recreate the process.
‘We are trying to see if inorganic matter can evolve and whether we can make new inorganic chemical systems that evolve.
‘We have an active research programme and we hope to achieve several milestones in our work in the next two to five years.’
The TED Conferences are not-for-profit events devoted to ‘Ideas worth spreading’. From its inception in 1984 bringing together experts from the fields of technology, entertainment and design, it has grown in scope. Today it holds two annual conferences: one in Long Beach or Palm Springs, California and the other in Edinburgh.