The first lecture of the semester in the STSci Astrobiology Lecture Series is coming up this Friday!  This lecture will be by Stephen Freeland from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii.  It’ll be in Bahcall Auditorium at STSCI starting at 12pm on Friday, September 3rd. The lecture is entitled “Will Alien Life Resemble Us (and How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids.”  The abstract:

A fundamental challenge for astrobiology is to establish the relative contributions of chance versus predictability in the origin and evolution of life on our own planet. Thus, for example, all Earth-life creates metabolism from an interacting network of protein molecules that catalyze various biochemical reactions. Furthermore, early during evolution it had arrived at a standard set of 20 amino acid building-blocks with which to build each of these proteins. We now have good reason to think that many of these amino acids are formed in significant quantities throughout the galaxy – but so are many others – so would alien life be like us, and how could we possibly know?