As the world grapples with an ongoing pandemic and billions face financial uncertainty to a higher degree than ever before, it’s easy to feel like the rug’s been pulled out from under us. But as we face our own fragility, we can also remember that life itself emerged in an early Earth that was unstable and inhospitable, and it thrived.
Lev, Julian, John, and Aditi discuss just a couple of the hotly-contested questions around the emergence of life on Earth. What came first: our genetic code or our metabolic processes? We also ask each other how we adapted to the new challenges and uncertainties of graduate school, not unlike the way life evolved throughout earth’s history.
On a personal note, we want to send our best wishes to everyone during these trying times. Stay safe, stay healthy, and if you are a healthcare worker, grocery store employee, bank teller, custodian, or anyone else showing us just what it means to perform an “essential service,” you have our profound gratitude.
For a great summary of the theories surrounding the emergence of life on Earth, check out this article from Caltech Letters by Caltech undergraduate alumna Elise Cutts.
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Cover image: An artist’s depiction of early Earth, when life first began to emerge. Credit: The Archaen World, Peter Sawyer, Smithsonian Institution