Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Colloquium: Self-Organizing Chemical Systems: From Materials Science to Astrobiology

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 11, 2015
Filed under
Astrobiology Colloquium: Self-Organizing Chemical Systems: From Materials Science to Astrobiology

Self-organizing processes in chemical reaction/precipitation systems can lead to a variety of complex structures, including chemical gardens and inorganic membranes.

They key aspects of these systems are the steep concentration gradients and far-from-equilibrium conditions, which in turn are determined by environmental and chemical factors. Chemical garden systems form complex self-organized structures and are now known to have many interesting and useful aspects, such as the ability to generate electrochemical energy and act as catalysts, and there is much interest in learning to control the precipitation process in such systems in order to produce useful materials.

Chemical garden precipitates exist in nature as well, including hydrothermal chimneys, which form at the interface of contrasting seawater and vent fluids. Seafloor hydrothermal systems generate disequilibria through water-rock reactions in the form of redox, pH, chemical and thermal gradients; and the inorganic precipitates formed in these gradients could have played a role in prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life on the early Earth, and also could affect habitability and energy availability on other worlds with water-rock interfaces.

All of our seminars are recorded and available for on demand playback at the NAI Seminars & Workshops website within 24 hours of the original broadcast.

How to Participate in this Virtual Seminar

Presenter: Laurie Barge (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
When: May 12th, 2015 3:00 PM PDT

To join using a web browser:

The slides and audio/video for this meeting will be presented using Adobe Connect. To join the meeting, connect to:

Choose the option to Enter as a Guest, enter your name into the field, and click Enter Room.
If you are having problems connecting, you can try joining, rebooting your computer, or try joining from another network.

To join using a videoconferencing system:

Please RSVP to Mike Toillion ([email protected]) ONLY if you will be joining by videoconference.
To view the slides, connect to

Presented by the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻