Chemistry Class of 1960 Scholars Colloquium

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 1:10pm

Thompson Chemistry, 202 47 Lab Campus Dr, Williamstown, MA 01267

Chemistry Class of 1960 Scholars Colloquium

Professor Dilip Kondepudi, Wake Forest University

"The Enigma of Asymmetry"

From elementary particles to morphology of mammals, nature exhibits left-right asymmetry.  This raises many questions to which we only have partial answers today. One particularly important problem, which still remains unsolved, is the origin of left-right asymmetry in the building blocks of  proteins and DNA.  In the early 1980's a theoretical framework that showed how asymmetry could spontaneously arise in chemical systems was developed.  In the 1990s, experiments demonstrated this phenomenon in crystallization and in organic reactions.  More recently, more surprising effects of stirring on crystal growth have been discovered.  Yet, why left-right asymmetry is so ubiquitous is not understood.  There are many ideas and some crazy ideas, but none crazy enough to provide a satisfactory explanation.

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