Why Are We Unable to Create Life in the Lab?

Lecture to be held by acclaimed chemist Professor Bert Meijer at Freie Universität Berlin on August 9, 2023

Why are scientists able to genetically modify plants and clone animals, but cannot understand the origin of life? The renowned chemist Professor Bert Meijer will address this very question in his lecture at Freie Universität Berlin on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. The lecture will be held in English, without simultaneous interpretation into German.

The origin of life on Earth has long been a scientific topic that has preoccupied humanity. While major progress in science and technology over the last century has allowed scientists to genetically modify plants, clone animals, and grow organs from stem cells, creating life in the laboratory has remained elusive. In his lecture Professor Meijer will illustrate the most important challenges encountered by scientists in trying to understand the origin of life. He will explain why it will take a very long time before a living cell can be made from its individual components in the laboratory - with the caveat that this may never be possible. He will also address how the self-organization of complex molecular systems remains a critical step in process of building living cells.

Bert Meijer holds a Humboldt Research Award and an honorary doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin, where he has been a Humboldt visiting professor since 2017. He is a distinguished university professor in the molecular sciences and professor of organic chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he founded the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems.