Search FQXi

If you have an idea for a blog post or a new forum thread, then please contact us at, with a summary of the topic and its source (e.g., an academic paper, conference talk, external blog post or news item).
Forum Home
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the blogger are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help

Count Iblis: on 1/2/09 at 22:53pm UTC, wrote William, thanks for the links to these interesting articles!

William Orem: on 12/22/08 at 21:20pm UTC, wrote Count – By your command. I had a conversation with Max Wallis at the ...

Count Iblis: on 12/12/08 at 17:11pm UTC, wrote Some scientists have proposed that complex molecules may have evolved...

William Orem: on 12/11/08 at 22:38pm UTC, wrote Remember my radical idea from last August? This was the suggestion that...


ross nickel: "In the early 1980s I was watching a sci-fi movie taking place in a..." in Alternative Models of...

Pentcho Valev: "In 1905 Albert Einstein informed the world that, although time dilation is..." in Call for Research...

John Merryman: "The irony is this"expansion" is intergalactic, balancing the galactic..." in Is the Past Infinite?

Pentcho Valev: "Eckard, "Will you please perform the quantitative check I asked you for?" ..." in Call for Research...

Georgina Parry: "Thanks for the link. I didn't know that Einstein was so fiercely..." in Is the Past Infinite?

Chuck Stark: "As a Mathematics undergraduate with a Physics minor, this topic is near and..." in Trick or Truth? — Essay...

Anton Vrba: "Brendan, Wow what a fantastic essay topic, congratulations! After skipping..." in Trick or Truth? — Essay...

Peter Jackson: "John, It's clear that space can have 0 'condensed 'matter', but you've not..." in Alternative Models of...

click titles to read articles

Quantum in Context
An untapped resource could provide the magic needed for quantum computation—and perhaps even open the door to time travel.

Spot the Difference to Reveal Exotic Particles
Questioning the symmetrization postulate of quantum mechanics and the notion that electrons are indistinguishable could reveal whether hypothetical new particles exist.

Life's Quantum Crystal Ball
Does the ability to predict the future—perhaps with quantum help—define the fundamental difference between living and inanimate matter?

The Quantum Truth Seeker
Watching particles fly through an interferometer might help to unveil higher-order weirdness behind quantum theory.

Quantifying Occam
Is the simplest answer always the best? Connecting Medieval monks to computational complexity, using the branch of mathematics known as category theory.

December 21, 2014

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Impact [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Blogger William Orem wrote on Dec. 11, 2008 @ 22:38 GMT

Remember my radical idea from last August? This was the suggestion that microbial life might be lying dormant in the centers of some craters on the moon, having been transferred there, panspermia-style, via impactors originating elsewhere in the Solar System (or beyond). Perhaps Copernicus crater is right now home to a colony of alien bacteria, and the first samples of extraterrestrial...

view entire post

this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

report post as inappropriate

Count Iblis wrote on Dec. 12, 2008 @ 17:11 GMT
Some scientists have proposed that complex molecules may have evolved inside comets and then delivered to Earth via glancing impacts or just via the comets shedding dust that than make it to Earth.

The very cold conditions inside comets make them ideal places to cook up complex molecules. In a test tube, the chemical reactions will produce the most stable compounds. You cannot make complex moleculs of which the intermedary products would be very unstable.

Inside a comet a molecule can react with another molecule in its immediate vicinity, without being bothered by oter molecules that are further away. This allows the formation of large molecules which will in general be very unstable at room temperatures. But some of these unstable molecules may then combine to form more stable molecules.

If the comet is kicked out of the Oort cloud and ends up in an elliptical orbit bringing it close to the Sun for short periods, then during the brief warm periods inside the comets, the unstable complex molecules will be destroyed, the more stable molecules may be able to survive. What may also happen is that different unstable molecules that are nstable on a time scale of a few hours may combine to form a molecule that is stable on a time scale of months. These more stable molecules will then be able to survive the brief warm period

Then, the comet moves away from the Sun, and reactions will be limited to close neighbors again. Cosmic rays may cause muations at greater disctances from the Sun. Molecules can then form unstable combinations with impunity again until the next warm period arrives.

report post as inappropriate

Blogger William Orem wrote on Dec. 22, 2008 @ 21:20 GMT
Count –

By your command.

I had a conversation with Max Wallis at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in Wales a few years back during which he made a compelling case for exactly this possibility. Asteroids, as he said, “are pretty dead,” whereas

“I think comets can form an environment in their interior in which elementary life can replicate, survive and travel in a sheltered environment to another stellar system.”

That’s a quotation that appears in the article I was writing at the time, “What If Life On Earth Did Not Begin On Earth?” which is now online at Red Ice, if you are interested.

This Discover article is also fun. “Intersetellar clouds of gas are impregnated with organic molecules . . .”


report post as inappropriate

Count Iblis wrote on Jan. 2, 2009 @ 22:53 GMT
William, thanks for the links to these interesting articles!

report post as inappropriate

Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.