PICS Seminar: Sukrit Ranjan (MIT)
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Building 54, 517
21 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02139
"The UV Environment for Prebiotic Chemistry: Connecting Origin-of-Life Scenarios to Planetary Environments"
Recent laboratory studies of prebiotic chemistry (chemistry relevant to the origin of life) are revolutionizing our understanding of the origin of life (abiogenesis) on Earth just as telescopes capable of searching for life elsewhere are coming online. My work sits at the intersection of these revolutions. I examine prebiotic chemical pathways postulated to be relevant to the origin of life and identify the environmental conditions they require to function. I compare these environmental requirements to what was available on Earth and other planets, and use the comparison to improve studies of the origin of life on Earth, and explore the implications for the inhabitability of other worlds. My work 1) provides initial conditions for laboratory studies of prebiotic chemistry, 2) constrains the inhabitability of Mars and planets orbiting M-dwarfs, and 3) demonstrates the need for laboratory studies to characterize the sensitivity of putative prebiotic chemistry to environmental conditions, e.g the spectral shape and amplitude of UV irradiation.
About the Series
The MIT Planetary Lunch Colloquium Series [PlCS] is a weekly seminar series organized within the EAPS department. Colloquia topics span the range of research interests of the department's planetary sciences research program. The seminars usually take place on Tuesdays from 12-1:30 pm in 54-517 unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Speakers include members of the MIT community and visitors. Talks are intended to appeal to graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, and faculty with a background in planetary science. A light lunch is provided.