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Roy A. Black holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is a professor at the University of Washington. His research expertise has to do with something that almost every human being has wondered at one point or another: how did life as we know it comes to be?

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On today’s podcast, Dr. Black talks about the following:

  • What explanation might account for the development and survival of cells despite harsh environments in early life
  • How the relationship between complexity and stability might explain the aggregation of the building blocks of life (e.g. RNA, proteins, fatty acids)
  • How it comes to be that forces like natural selection act upon a molecule

Before diving into the field of research on the origin of life, Dr. Black spent many years in biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry. Having always felt a drive toward understanding our history, he became increasingly compelled to research something that’s been largely unaddressed by scientists: how life began. Answering this question or at least getting closer to an answer will not only satisfy human curiosity but allow for us to say with more confidence what probability there is of other forms of simple or complex life in the universe.

Among a number of interesting topics, Dr. Black talks about his hypothesis as to how the building blocks of RNA and protein first came together, and how the answer might explain cell division and molecular stability. He explains the component parts of a cell, similarities between the biochemistry of different species on earth, and what he wants to answer as a researcher on the origin of life.

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